Tonight I'd like to post two flash fiction and one poem by Doug Mathewson. Thank you, Catfish McDaris, for steering him my way!
The night before my Grandmother died we said our goodbyes in the hospital. We had always been very close, and knew this would be our final parting.
I said goodbye to my Father many times over the years. First when we sat together in a locked psychiatric ward. He laughed nervously and said
“I never thought it would be my mind that would go first”.
We repeatedly said goodbyes of one kind or another in different nursing homes, clinics, and hospitals as he declined. Finally in Hospice, with cancer consuming him we said goodbye daily. We would hold hands and sit together in the sun. Tears would swell in his now blind eyes and he would say
“I want to die. Please kill me. You’re my son, you’re a good man, you know what’s
right. Kill me, please kill me. I want to die”.
If I could have taken his life I would have then and there. But what I did do was give him permission to go, permission to die, and we said goodbye everyday until he was gone.
My Mother now is fading. Alzheimer’s and stroke have taken her once sharp mind. Memory is falling away from her so rapidly. Now we find sunny spots in which to sit. Most days she knows me, but not all. She wonders aloud if I am her brother or a childhood friend.
Every goodbye between us now is long and lingering. We never know which one will be our last goodbye.
by - Doug Mathewson
Years ago my mother and I stood side by side watching my newborn son sleep. He startled. She smiled and said “Look... He’s like Cassie”, referring to our family dog, “Thinking about chasing rabbits.” She squeezed my hand and we were blissfully content in the moment.
At Hospice today I sat with my mother, retelling her our family stories. She was wrapped in blue blankets, unconscious in her bed by the sunny windows. Her hand fluttered for a moment within mine and I thought “Mom’s dreaming of bunnies.”
Not a woman’s way, not like that. My deer rifle, and her half-pint.
Both still on seat.
Way out there by herself. Pills you’d figure or a blade in the tub.
But not like this. First shot you’d think would’ve spooked her.
Her being alone and taking out the back window like it did.
Must of made a hell of a noise.
But she never would back off, that was probably half her problem.
Other half ran deeper. Old and dark, dark as night. Ran that way all her life.
Troopers found her upstate, out there by the lake.
Her pickup hidden by the trees.
Gotta say, always worried, her being my little sis and all.
Guess I can stop my worrying about her, use what I got left
for her kids.
Doug Mathewson has rejected the advice “write what you know” since he knows nothing. Most recently his work has appeared in The Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, Cloud City Press, Postcards Prose & Poems, riverbabble, and Jersey Devil.
This weekend I've been listening to my Los Lobos albums, so I'm going to post a few of their songs for you. They've been going through my mind as I read Doug's work.
I'll begin with "Someday": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUCPPkaJABU
Here is "Wicked Rain/Across 110th Street" with Bobby Womack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIKEfKJ_zJI
To remind you to vote in the fall contests, I am going to add a song or two by Gene Clark. First is his "Hear the Wind": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsJ_4f1VP8w
Here is his "Silent Crusade" from Two Sides to Every Story, his album from 1977: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPneXVs21xM
Clark did a version of "In the Pines" on that album, but I think Kurt Cobain's version of the song fits this entry better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOZKz_sPM6U