Glenn Patterson’s dad had asked him to return an old photo as he lay on his deathbed
Her mother Susan struggled to leave her apartment. Jayson Greene's daughter Greta, two, pictured together, was killed when a brick fell eight storeys and landed on her head. Susan had been looking after Greta for the weekend when the accident happened. It was a random catastrophe that nobody could process. Instead, they sat around her bed, willing her to keep breathing until her organs could be removed to help others. Despite the staples holding her tiny head together, Jayson felt a strange urge to pull out his phone and snap one final photo, but a kindly nurse stayed his hand.
Jayson had spent the past two years protecting his daughter from choking hazards and sharp corners. Then this. The story is almost unbearable.
Science fiction. Fantasy. The universe. And related subjects.
His memoir, pictured, reveals what Jayson and his wife did after their daughter died. Cut adrift by their grief, the couple attend a variety of workshops to help them learn to live with it. They attend seminars and write letters to their lost child. Jayson is cynical about the slick catchphrases of the bereavement industry — but surprises himself by how much the sessions release in him.
Lifelong sceptics, the pair visit a medium and travel to the desert to engage in a spiritual journey to make peace with Greta. My chest compresses and I take some odd gulping breaths to avoid sobbing in the checkout line. Her grandchildren showed her photographs on their phones. They lived in a different world from the world where she had grown up. A different world. She considered that for a moment.
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She had never cared for science fiction, though she had friends who did. She had been forced to memorize just such reams of poetry by her mother, which had come in handy later. She was never at a loss for a quotation. She had probably been accepted into Oxford on her ability to quote, though of course it was the war, and the lack of young men had made it easier for women.
She had been to Oxford. Her memories there were not confusingly doubled. Tolkien had taught her Old English. It was years before The Lord of the Rings and all the fuss. Later people had been so excited when she told them she had known him. And at Oxford, as Margaret Drabble had written, everyone had the excitement of thinking they might be going to be someone famous.
She had never imagined that she would be. But she had wondered about her friends, and certainly Mark. Poor Mark. The indisputable fact was: she was confused. She lost track of her thoughts. She had difficulty remembering things. People told her things and she heard them and reacted and then forgot all about them.
She had forgotten that Bethany had been signed by a record label. Bethany had been crushed that she had forgotten. Worse, she had forgotten, unforgivably, that Jamie had been killed. She knew that Cathy was wounded that she could have forgotten, even though she had said that she wished she could forget herself. How much else had she forgotten and then not even remembered that she had forgotten? Now she imagined that she was living in two different realities, drifting between them; but it must be her brain that was at fault, like a computer with a virus that made some sectors inaccessible and others impossible to write to.
Rhodri was one of the few people who would talk to her about her dementia as a problem, a problem with potential fixes and workarounds.
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Perhaps he was busy. She picked up a book. She had given up on trying to read new books, though it broke her heart. She could still re-read old books like old friends, though she knew that too would go; before the end her mother had forgotten how to read. For now, while she could, she read a lot of poetry, a lot of classics. After a while she let the book drop. It had grown dark outside, and she got up and tottered over to draw the curtains.
She made her way carefully, hanging onto the bed and then the wall. Though she had fallen once on her way to the toilet and forgotten that she had a button to call for help. The curtains were navy blue, although she was quite sure there had been a pale green blind the last time. She leaned on the window sill, looking out at the bare branches of a sycamore moving in the breeze.
The moon was half-obscured by a thin veil of cloud. Where was this place? Up on the moor?
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Or was it somewhere along the canal? There might be birds in the branches in the morning. She must remember to come and look.
She had her binoculars somewhere. They must be here somewhere, unless that was in the other world. It would be very unfair if the binoculars were in one world and the tree were in the other. If there were two worlds, then what caused her to slide between them? It was the same year, whichever year it was. She had four children, or three. There was a lift in the nursing home, or there was only a stairlift. She remembered Kennedy being assassinated and she remembered him declining to run again after the Cuban missile exchange.
Had she made a choice that could have gone two ways and thereafter had two lives? Two lives that both began in Twickenham in and both ended here in this nursing home in or , whichever it was? She shuffled back and looked at her notes, clipped to the end of the bed. It was February 5th , and she was VC.primevopcalle.gq
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That was definite, and good to know. She sat down but did not take up the book. It would be suppertime soon, she could hear the trolley moving down the corridor. This was the same whatever world she was in. If she had made a choice—well, she knew she had.
She could remember as clearly as she could remember anything.
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She had been in that little phone box in the corridor in The Pines and Mark had said that if she was going to marry him it would have to be now or never. And she had been startled and confused and had stood there in the smell of chalk and disinfectant and girls, and hesitated, and made the decision that changed everything in her life.
It was July and Patsy Cowan was seven years old and they were in Weymouth for two glorious weeks. There was a band in the bandstand, and sculptures of animals made of sand, and donkeys to ride and the sea to swim in, and they were building a sand pulpit for Mr. Price to preach from in the evening. She was wearing a brown cotton bathing suit, though most of the younger children and some of the other seven-year-olds still went bare.