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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


"In your parents' eyes, you become an adult when you have children. In your own eyes, I think you fully become an adult and fully aware of your own mortality when you lose a parent."
From This Day Forward - 'Cokie Roberts',  'Steven V. Roberts'

- Cokie Roberts


Exactly what my mom always said. That day hasn't come for her yet -- my almost-sixty mom is not "fully adult" by this definition. I am not looking forward to when that day comes for her, or for me.


This reflection came at the point in the book when Steve Roberts was reflecting on the death of his father, which happened quickly from a series of strokes. It reminded me of my own grandmother's brush with death two years ago now, when she was hospitalized for a severe allergic reaction. I remember sitting with my mom in the ICU, how Grandma's face was so red, her hair so oddly white against it. I remember when they decided to switch from life support to "comfort measures only," and how Krystl and I drove down to Sioux Falls to say goodbye to her that Friday night. We were at the hospital for hours, shuffling between a lobby that played reality TV and had computers and Grandma's room.


I was supposed to go to Duluth that weekend, and I wasn't sure if I should go. Mom told me to go ahead. She had this dazed expression; she said, "I'm grieving. I'm not going to be normal for a while. I'm saying goodbye to my mom."


While Grandma was dying--and she was dying--she turned to my mom and my aunts, who had taken turns staying with her all week, she said, "This has been fun, hasn't it?" She meant it, too. It wasn't often she got to spend so much time with her daughters, all together.


I went to Duluth and tried not to think about it all weekend, knowing Grandma would probably be dead by the time I returned. I called Mom on Sunday night as I drove home to ask how she was. To my surprise, she was sitting up in bed watching a baseball game. She was doing better.


She made it, off life support, without medication, without intervention. When all that was stripped away, she began to live again.


She's still here. My mom got to remain a child a little longer.