October 31, 2014

The Mulligan

I didn't finish my Halloween story in time. Instead, here's one I wrote years ago that seems to fit.

The Mulligan

This hangover was going to make a day of it. How she let herself get talked into shots was too nauseating to recall. Besides, she so knew better. Was anyone else as sick? Of course, none of them had the job or early meetings. She carried a lot of responsibility at the firm and client screw-ups didn’t go unnoticed. Her lost commissions made more work for co-workers already living one check to the next.

“You idiot.” Loathing punched around her headache as she patted “Pure Radiance” concealer under roughed up eyes. And so much for cutting down on the cigs. What was that, over a pack smoked from happy hour til closing? “Lord, just get me through this meeting.”

Settling into the car and waiting a beat for all motion to please stop, a weight pushed hard on her chest. Unsure, she looked down accusingly at the seat belt and tensed up. When it eased a few moments later, she inhaled deeply and swore to herself, “OK! From now on I’m off all the junk.” Turning the key, a second weight crushed down such that she impulsively released the belt.

And waited.

As with most sudden scares, there was an aftershock of heart pounding. Her queasy stomach rejoined immediately, signaling that some manner of vomiting was now probable.

October 19, 2014

Obituary Writing, Draft 1

I've read that writing one's own obituary is therapeutic, doubly so for writers. (I made this last part up.) Here goes with draft 1:

FRENCH, JANE

Jane French nee Doherty, of Naperville, IL since 1998, passed suddenly and unexpectedly into eternity on Friday, October 18, 2014 after a brief admission to Edward Hospital's emergency room from injuries sustained in a fall at home while carrying a load of laundry down a flight of stairs. It is estimated she carried laundry in this fashion 4,500 times without incident. Until October 18.

Jane is survived by her long-suffering and beloved husband, Lewis, and cherished children, Victor, Jack, and Kristen. She is also survived by her parents, six siblings, their spouses, and several nieces and nephews.

Born into this world during the month of May in Crystal Lake, IL, Jane was a mediocre cook and an inveterate daydreamer. She held positions at various social welfare organizations, from Hull House Association to Loaves & Fishes Community Services, finishing with a stint in leadership education programs.

Jane began writing short stories and essays in a resolute fashion ten years ago and leaves behind a stack of unfinished manuscripts and rejections in her home office.

In accordance with her wishes, cremation has taken place with arrangements by Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home. Jane was promptly and thoroughly raked into the flower garden, having communicated that memorial contributions be given to Planned Parenthood.

October 5, 2014

The Best Possible Day

From The New York Times, a Sunday Review piece by Atul Gawande on death and how we handle remaining days:

"Medicine has forgotten how vital such matters are to people as they approach life’s end. People want to share memories, pass on wisdoms and keepsakes, connect with loved ones, and to make some last contributions to the world. These moments are among life’s most important, for both the dying and those left behind. And the way we in medicine deny people these moments, out of obtuseness and neglect, should be cause for our unending shame."

Read the whole thing here.