Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 40

washing whatever needs washing, unfurling crisp sheets vacuumed with her fancy Kirby which the door-to-door upon a bed and knowing it’s a treat on Saturday night to salesman guaranteed for life.  She is still in that vacuum climb into clean sheets with a clean body. bag.  And in my parents’ shared hairbrush. She’ll be in this house as long as Dad is here. I strip Dad’s bed, and I swear I can smell my mother, hint of Avon Rose Water, in their wool blankets.  She’s been In those gray days after Mom’s funeral, I wondered: Who dead four years now.  am I, living in a world without a mother? I am always struck by the tininess of their “built in” Someday soon I won’t have a father.  Will I be a double bed.  No box spring, just a wooden platform and 40-something orphan?  Ludicrous, but it crosses my headboard Dad crafted by hand in 1955.  Two adults and mind.  Simultaneously I wonder if my son will ever curate sometimes two children fit in this bed.  I was one of them, my life as I have done with my parent’s relics or will I be sleeping in the small space between my parent’s pillows like those abandoned family photos you see in an antique and the clock-radio-and-black-and-white-snapshot- store?  Bigger still: whatever we do to stave off that covered-headboard.  I didn’t have my own bed then, just quickening heartbeat—eat our raw veggies and give up floated from room to room, a child with the ability to fit in smoking— we’re still reminded “I’m-dying, too.”  Ancient, spaces no one over age five could possibly imagine, like deep, and unavoidable.   bats and certain mice.  I turn back to my project at hand.  This washtub, it smells I can’t help but think that Mom’s DNA is on this bedding, only of metal: steely strength of lug nuts and blood.  I skin long sloughed off.  Or a strand or two of her hair scrub away the grime of my father’s garage and remnants is caught in the crook of a drawer.  She is surely in of my kin’s DNA, traces of stories none of us knows we the wall-to-wall carpet she walked upon for decades and leave behind. Patti See’s stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Salon Magazine, Women’s Studies Quarterly, The Wisconsin Academy Review, HipMama, Inside HigherEd, as well as many other magazines and anthologies. She is the co- author  of Higher Learning: Reading and Writing About College, 3 rd  edition (with Bruce Taylor, Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2011) and a poetry collection, Love’s Bluff  (Plainview Press, 2006).  She wrote the blog “Our Long Goodbye:  One Family’s Experiences with Alzheimer’s” ( which has been read in more than 100 countries. She lives in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin. 40