Friday, October 13, 2017

13 October 2017

I want to write an honest sentence about ethics. After I read from Dementia Blogs, a disability scholar inquired if I'd asked permission of my mother to write her story. (I had become my mother's keeper.) She asked if I had permission of the family. (There was none.) There's an ethics of privacy and there's one to counter it. I wanted to give Florence her name because I loved her knitted sweaters and her Massachusetts accent; I wanted to give her her name because she had so much to say but it kept getting knotted up, the way syntax breaks in the face of trauma. “Am I ok?” he kept asking. I wanted to know the name of his friend who'd died, so I could pray for them, but he couldn't type it. I'd pray anyway, in my funny way. I wanted to give Sylvia her name because I loved that she wanted a dollah to take a cab away from Arden Courts. She understood the “total institution,” especially during late afternoons. Her son had to sneak away. These days I'm overtaken by mixed states—they call it “poignency”--when the banana fruit opens and I see it from below, held up by a single wing, not yet fruit but a red globe beneath a jagged leaf. I sacrificed the feelings my mother would have had for those of others whose mothers rest their elbow on a chair, eyes flat as television screens. If you held her hand, she might feel better, though you'd never know. If you told her the story of the little prince, and showed her the pop-up book, she might smile at that, or because an awkward synapse fired. If you tried to find meaning, you might only find a mirror. When she looked in hers, she didn't see herself. Please, if I get there, call me by my name. It died out in 1966.

--13 October 2017

No comments: