Tiny Love Stories: ‘We never asked; He never explained ‘

My husband, Stanley, was sick months before he died in April 2019. To take care of him, I did not have time to make our 2018 tax returns. With an extension to October, I searched Stanley’s checkbooks and credit card issues. His expenses and payments reflected the cruel bow of his illness: Stanley’s business-related expenses dropped while his medical expenses ballooned; his handwriting defeated. I experienced his death through his taxes. Sometimes those two certainties – death and taxes – intersect in unexpected, heartbreaking ways. By working slowly, I was able to meet Stanley’s latest commitments. In time. , Zelda R. Stern

“Why is this night different from all the other nights?” I asked – just as I, the youngest child, did every Easter on my parents’ Cedar. What I said next was new: “Because tonight we are married.” Mark and I held our hands up, shiny rings on our fingers. We had left that afternoon. This was the first Cedar for Mark’s Catholic mother. “Is this part of it?” she asked. “Yes, mother,” he died; it was his dry sense of humor that had drawn me to his personal ad two decades earlier. “Every Easter,” Mark joked, “someone has to get married.” , Wayne Hoffman


I inherited nostalgia from my father. Over the weekend in Brooklyn, he would play his 78 rpm Ansonia records, drink beer and watch injured. He would lose himself in texts about “los jíbaros de las montañas”, the noble peasants of the mountains. Humility and dreams would float through the air while my sisters and I rolled our eyes; we could not relate to music across rural Puerto Rico. Once I came home to my father, sitting on the couch, his plates scattered, cracked to pieces. We never asked; he never explained. The sheds remain. I long to hear those songs. , Sonia Perez

Through our mud room I walked across my son’s shoes: black slip-on sneakers, loafers with thick soles, plastic slides. There were beach shoes, school shoes, grass shoes. As I weaved through the room, I remembered the moment we learned that he would probably never bend his own shoes. When he was a baby, the diagnoses of his epilepsy and intellectual disability as thieves, threatened to establish happiness, normalcy. Now I look at his lace-up shoes and think: “They are free from what is not needed, just like my son. They are perfect and complete, just like him. ” Susan Hall





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