Two by Two

Two by Two

Author:Nicholas Sparks
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Fiction / General
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: 2016-10-03T22:00:00+00:00


One Day at a Time

Unlike my friend Danny, I was around to experience my mom’s angst as one by one, she lost the family with whom she’d grown up. I was thirteen when my grandfather died, eighteen when my grandmother died, twenty-one when the first of her brothers passed away, and twenty-eight when the last one slipped from this world to the next.

In each case, my mom bore the heaviest burden. All four were lingering deaths, with frequent trips to the hospital while poison was administered in the hopes of killing the cancer before it killed them. There was hair loss and nausea, weakness and memory loss. And pain. Always, there was too much pain. Toward the end, there were occasional days and nights spent in the ICU, with my relatives sometimes crying out in agony. My mom was there for all of it. Every night, after work, she would head to their homes or to hospital, and she would stay with them for hours. She would wipe their faces with damp cloths and feed them through straws; she came to know the doctors and nurses in three different hospitals on a first-name basis. When the time came, it was she who helped with funeral arrangements, and I always knew that despite our presence she felt very much alone.

In the weeks and months following that fourth funeral, I suppose that I thought she would rebound in the way she always had before. On the surface, she hadn’t changed—she still wore aprons and spent most of her time in the kitchen when Vivian and I visited—but she was quieter than I remembered and every once in a while, I would catch her staring out the window above the sink, isolated from the sounds of those of us nearby. I thought it had to do with the most recent loss; it was Vivian who finally suggested that my mom’s grief was cumulative, and her comment struck me as exactly right.

What would it be like to lose one’s family? I suppose it’s inevitable in everyone’s family—there is always a last survivor, after all—but, Vivian’s comment made me ache for my mom whenever I would see her. I felt as though her loss had become my loss, and I began swinging by more frequently. I’d drop by after work two or three times a week and spend time with my mom, and though we didn’t talk about what she—and I—was going through, it was always there with us, an all-encompassing sadness.

One night, a couple of months into my new routine, I dropped by the house and saw my dad trimming the hedges while my mom waited on the porch. My dad pretended not to have noticed my arrival and didn’t turn around.

“Let’s take a drive,” my mom announced. “And by that, I mean that you’re driving.”

She marched toward my car and after opening the passenger door, she took a seat and closed the door behind her.

“What’s going on, Dad?”

He stopped trimming but didn’t turn to face me.


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