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Mom Journeys to the Other Side

William Bryan

Mom was not fully conscious when she crossed over, but I’m quite certain she was aware of both sides of the veil as she departed the realm of the living. This is a brief story of her dying. 

After my dad died, more than twenty years ago, my mom moved from our family home to live with my brother, Jim, and his wife, Barb. 

In retrospect, it was an act of supreme foresight,

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Are You a Doctor?

Margaret Kim Peterson

“Are you a doctor?” 

I am sitting by my husband’s hospital bed in the surgical admission ward, where he is being prepped for surgery to close a severe pressure ulcer on his left ischium, the knob on the pelvis where your weight rests when you sit. 

Dwight was eighteen when an illness damaged his spinal cord,

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Mementos and Memories

Paul Rousseau

Delores sits tilted to the right in a worn wheelchair, a curtain separating her from a sleeping roommate. 

She is wearing a blue blouse stained with something orange, perhaps Jell-O, and white pants and white socks. A worn gold wedding band adorns the fourth finger of her left hand. Her hair is a shiny gray, perfectly coiffed,

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Hospital Librarian

Pam Kress-Dunn

Some people seem surprised to find a library in a hospital. But it’s here, and so am I. Having been a librarian in lots of different libraries–public, academic, archival–I jumped at this job when it opened up. Little did I know what I was getting into.

Like many medical librarians, I work solo. I do have a

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ICU

Sara Rempe

The women moved through silence
like monks through a garden, all focus

and white cotton, soaping, rinsing,
lifting her body to sponge

her swollen skin. We were
there when they cleaned her

of diarrhea, sliding an arm
under her when she struggled to move

she’d groan, suck in, drop–
limbs like thin shoots

of

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Shujinwa Byoki Des

Lucy Moore

I don’t speak Japanese, but I can say “Shujinwa byoki des” (my husband is sick). 

After spending a month in Bali studying art, sweating profusely and slapping mosquitoes, we were heading home to New Mexico, with a stop in Hiroshima on the way. Our first morning there, my husband, Roberto, woke with a fever of 103 and a full body rash. 

The hotel had a thermometer, but no doctor. As Roberto’s fever neared

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Sweet Lies

Marilyn Hillman

I can sense the question before it comes.

“How are you doing?” 

I want to answer, How do you think I’m doing, with my husband morphing into a ghost? I’m dying here. But thanks for asking.

Instead I clench my fists and deliver a cheerful response: “I’m good.” Which is, of course, a lie.

My husband is demented.

I cannot say these words out loud. Pushed to

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Maman

Paul Gross

At a recent religious service I attended with Maman, my 87-year-old mother, I watched her fumbling attempts to find hymn number 123, “Spirit of Life,” in the hymnal. I held my book up, opened to the appropriate page, so that we both could sing from it.

She glanced up momentarily, tightened her lips, hunched forward and resumed turning pages, finally arriving at the song when the congregation was singing the second verse,

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Giving Care

Ronna L. Edelstein

When I was six, my family and I spent a week in Atlantic City. I loved the Boardwalk with its saltwater-taffy aroma and colorful sights, but I feared the pier that jutted far out into the Atlantic. One moonless night, my big brother bet me a bag of taffy that I couldn’t walk to the pier’s end by myself. Never one to back down, I accepted his bet. But the farther out

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