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Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.

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Two Years and a Shadow


Just a shadow over two years ago, my parents’ lives shattered when old age carried deep illness into their home and broke everything into shards. Those shards will be with us forever. They will, I fear, be visited upon seven upon seven generations of sons and daughters and nurses and doctors and therapists and priests and aides and friends, seven generations to come.

The miracle is that we are still here, two years plus a shadow on from that nightmare time.

The miracle is that we laugh now. We eat. We creep into his room to see him sleeping in the afternoon and watch as she makes friends.

The miracle is that my mother can now see colour in the world – not only the grey and black tones of the many decades before. The miracle is that the young speech therapist finds ways to help my father’s baffled tongue make words again. (I just realized I dreamed about that last night – about my father speaking clearly again, easily.)

The miracle is her happiness about the humane pope she has been waiting to see all her life. It is his concern with the state of the world with climate change. The miracle is the way his grandson climbed all over him at Christmas and the way she called me to ask me to describe the womens’ marches around the world the day after Trump was sworn in. She couldn’t turn her TV on so I turned ours on and described the scenes to her. Every once in a while she gasped with pleasure and amazement.

The miracle is the beat of her heart, his heart. The miracle is the way we are still breathing. The miracle is his smiling at the music a few weeks ago.

The miracle is that we’re still standing.

Linda E. Clarke
Guelph, Ontario