Cut Your Toenails…


If that stupid cat is on the bed again, I’m going to hide her in the closet until sunrise!

Can’t be her, the pressure against my thigh is too much for an 6 pound cat.  But the covers are pulled to just the right length.  It takes too long to get comfortable, i don’t want to roll over.  Maybe I thrashed around and one of the books just slide over?

Surrendering to my half-awake brain, my eyes open enough to lean my face into a pair of feet?  Next to my head?  Then my ears pick up sounds it had been trying to ignore, my niece snoring!  Now I have to worry about if this was a me thing or a her thing.

The deal for the summer, if she does well in her first college level class there is some financial gain for her.  Simply put, do well get money from your uncle!  We convinced her to do the same my parents had tried with me, pick a class just to see if you like the subject.  15 years old, walking around Boston University’s campus, the circle complete?

Susie chose a creative writing class.  It makes sense for someone who dreams of being an artist.  But she also wants to pay some bills, having a JOB while trying is her plan.  I had been listening to her latest missives before she submitted them.  Judging her work against 20 year old’s worries her.  Not their reactions, but if she is mature in the same way.

But what caused her to stay?

I know that every now and then there are bad nights.  Mine for medical reasons, her’s for just the stacks of responsibility she feels for the entire family.  Some nights I find her sleeping in a chair, others I peek out the door to see if the light still reflects off the floor outside her room.

This night it was that she didn’t like my breathing.  Susie couldn’t explain it.  Just a gut feeling that couldn’t be shaken.

So I’m stuck with feet in my face…

Her worry is also our shared nightmare.  That one morning she’ll do the mirror under the nose thing and not be shocked, just upset.  We’ve talked about it.  The entire family had to decide if home or hospice was the path.  I may be the topic, but their opinions and concerns are what matter.

Home it has been!

So her lessons have included making sure my periodic need for a tube in the arm is clear.  That I take my meds on time.  Mainly she likes that we still walk out to the flower beds and just take in some color.

What I get back in return is greater.  Some days it can’t be helped to think about how we die.  But this time spent with her reminds me that those thoughts need to be squashed by how I live.  It’s a simple lesson.  Much like some of her best stories, not flowering writing wrapped up in too many words.  The things she writes, the ones I enjoy the most, tend to be two or three pages of just hopeful truths and dreams that one day she’ll absolutely achieve.

Plus I like her tales about penguins.  Reminds me of my daughter.  But maybe that’s her point.



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