Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The Impatient Mistress
My son gently pulls at one of my daughter's arms as she thrusts the other towards my face. Her delicate fingers are wrapped around a small tattered paperback book. She wants me to read to her. I squint and struggle to concentrate on the words coming from the mobile phone glued to my forehead. I make menacing looks hoping they will scare easily and run off. They stand their ground emboldened by experience. My children are all to familiar with these histrionic antics.
My son is right. I am talking about dying again. Five thirty in the evening is as good a time as any. My family is accustomed to me discussing such things: at dinner, on weekends, at their cousins birthday party.
Death is an impatient mistress.
And my patients are old and frail. They wallow in the tempest of disease and antiquity. Their bodies fail at the most inopportune moments, and I refuse to learn the venerable deception of unavailability. Which means that death infuses even my most private occasions.
Yet the fault lines of our lives can also shift in sudden and cataclysmic ways. Once the growth plate fuses, the child's bones will expand no further. Missed opportunities become memories of inconsequence.
Father, husband, physician...physician, husband, father.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 6:24 PM