Sunday, August 22, 2010

a poem about my husband when he was dying

Remember, no, Forget

Remember the moments when we were together
In a white room. Remember no forget the rest that came afterward.
The rest--your rest is what we’re talking about, but
I meant everything, the rest of it, that came later,
Everything after you died in the room. Everything up to now.
No, I know.
You really died in some other room where they were scanning your body. I don’t know why. I know that then,
You were alive, drugged, happy in a way, smiling, and then we (Laura and I) went out to dinner and
You were dead. Even though the machines kept you breathing for awhile.

But remember the moments before, way before, the day before,
The week before, the years before. Sleeping side by side, your hands on my breasts. Embracing until we were exhausted. Almost too tired to get up. You got up so early.
The moments in the living room
Before dinner. Drinking vodka, talking, kissing, laughing about what happened
That day or last year or whenever. Planning what to do on our next trip.

Remember the awful moments and also the one happy moment in the white room
When you said, “Where have you been all day?” When you finally smiled.
They finally decided to give you something to stop the pain. Finally.
Waiting, waiting, I waited all day long for that moment that I thought would come
As soon as we got to the hospital. But didn’t. It was just pain and
Pain and pain and pain until that one moment in the white room. They all said things like
“Dad, how are you?” I said, “I was right here.” I embraced you.

That was the last time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

To the New York Times (which will never publish it) today

Your August 5th story, "Law Will Extend Medicare Fund, Report Says," repeats the same old chestnut about Social Security that we've heard or seen millions of times: ... "After that, the program will have to draw down the Social Security trust fund, which is not an actual reserve of money but an accounting device tracking the accumulated surplus. " I have never understood what this means, but I would like to. Aren't all such institutions merely accounting devices by this measure? I mean, is a bank an actual reserve of money or merely an accounting device? Surely banks do not have all the billions or millions of dollars they list as assets in little piles in a back room. Surely even Goldman Sachs and the companies that issue all the stocks they sell are also "just accounting devices." Is there something I don't understand here? If so, I would appreciate an explanation OR I would appreciate your discontinuance of this phrase, which seems only to be of use to those who would denigrate Social Security.
Thank you.
Carol Wheeler