She Never Thought it Would be Me. Mom in the Car Wash
July 6, 2017

Photo by Sherry Day

You Tell Stories

When someone you take care of dies, you tell one story to the cousins and another to the favorite nephew. You tell one story to the friend whose father died six months ago and another to the friend who visits her mother in the nursing home every day. When someone you take care of dies, you wake up siblings and poke them with a stick.

When someone you take care of dies, you listen to the platitudes about "gone to a better place;" "now it's less stress on you;" the ubiquitous sorry-losses; and the assumptive "know how you feel," when they don't know if you are relieving or grieving.

Some people tell you that they were there on Tuesday when he didn't eat so they knew he was dying. Some people tell you that they prayed with him on Wednesday and were surprised he died. A nurse tells you that he sounded garbled and confused on the phone because he is "tired," but the cleaning lady says, "I knew he was going to die because I could see his heart going boom boom boom."

You tell yourself a different story of knowing that because you decided not to visit on Thursday evening that it would come true that he would die before the visit you rescheduled for Friday morning. You tell yourself, "If I don't go tonight, he won't be there tomorrow," and it was subsequently true. When someone you take care of dies, you get in taking-care-of-business mode so that you can tell his remaining sister-in-law one thing and the only grandchild another. You tell the funeral home what you want done and you go on with life planned for that day. When someone you take care of dies, there are so many versions of the story it's hard to find the second person singular.

Thyme N. Haff

2015 June five


1. the pronoun of the second person singular or plural, used of the person or persons being addressed, in the nominative or objective case:

2. one; anyone; people in general:.

7. the nature or character of the person addressed: Try to discover the hidden you.



1. a trite, dull, or obvious remark or statement; a commonplace

2. staleness or insipidity of thought or language; triteness