Can’t Complain

I don’t have anything to say to You any more. It’s a good thing the Book of Common Prayer exists. If I only knew about extemporaneous prayer, I would never pray at all.

You know what’s going on: I live alone month after month. Now that the days are short, I don’t go for walks with my friends during the week because I work during all the daylight hours. I see no one except through Zoom. I talk to You using Cranmer’s words.

I was furloughed for a brief period during the spring, but that is the only practical problem I have had to face. My circumstances are hardly worth mentioning.

Can you mourn for something that you can’t even conjure up in your mind any more?

Three years ago my brother and I were visiting the ICU every day and hoping to see some recognition in our father’s face. There was one moment when he saw me and his eyes lit up. “Her!” he said, and smiled.

“Yes, it’s her!” the nurse said. “Your daughter!”

But then his eyes slid away, and he began to thrash. Only the restraining bands kept him from yanking out the IV and catheter. At 87, he was still six feet tall and strong as an ox. One nurse tried to hold him still, and then she and another nurse threw their bodies over his to hold him in place while a third increased the sedative until he relaxed.

That’s how he spent almost three weeks, alternating between terrified delirium and sedated stupor. He never again recognized anyone, and he never again spoke.

For all that, his death was relatively kind.

I don’t miss him. I’m grateful that he lived a long life on his own impatient, demanding terms and then died without stroke, kidney failure, cancer, or any other late-in-life medical horror. Except for three bad weeks that he mostly missed out on, he got off easy.

I don’t miss him, or my mother. Or my stepfather. Or my stepmother.

December 20, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

WorldUnited StatesMassachusetts
Infections75,129,30617,053,640323,531
Deaths1,680,794300,70011,717
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