July 23, 2022

Photo by Leili Najmabadi

By Leili Najmabadi

Lately I can’t stand the motorized, not the highway traffic alongside the walking trail and not the sound of drilling first thing in the morning. Keeping a person’s spirit alive before they are gone comes with stuffy air, untouched cafeteria food, and frequent diaper changes. If we are to cross paths with death as many times as we have loved another it’s no wonder how few stay until the very end. 

To be someone proud in their own character, feed your grandmother on her deathbed. Concentrate on the amount of food on the spoon and when to pull it out of her quivering mouth. Do this with no one watching, no prize to possess other than the humility of the hands that have fed you and every generation before. 

Anticipating grief is sleepwalking in and out of a screen door in the middle of the night, there’s a heat wave that makes limbs wary even without sight of the sun. A thoughtless slumber lets any semblance of a real emotion haphazardly float to the bottom of a well in all hours of the day. 

One day I decide it’s time to try to reconnect with the living again, so I sit on a log overlooking the Puget Sound. A week before it was Kirkland, tomorrow it’ll be the botanical garden. I get chai lattes at Zoka Cafe, Urban Coffee, and Macrina Bakery in between. I seem alright, I’m told. It becomes robotic, a compassion that becomes numb, dormant, and not even the trees and the smell of cinnamon can stir in me the will to live a life without her. 

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