“Granddad Bob die?”
My three-year-old son is currently fascinated by his Granddad Bob. More precisely, Rowan is fascinated by the death of his Granddad Bob, after a short and brutal stint with lung cancer, years before Rowan was even conceived.
“What Granddad Bob say when he die?”
The questions come at random moments: while I help him take off his snowpants, on the toilet, playing trains.
“Why he die?” […]
I want to tell him that, even though I hesitate I get what he’s doing. I get the need to make it make sense, and how it doesn’t. I get how death is always hovering.
Over, say, me at 10, practicing handstands over and over in the front hall, willing myself to stay upright and counting the seconds until I topple over, the one Mississippi, two Mississippi, in syncopation with a larger goal: Fifteen seconds and Mom won’t die. Fifteen seconds and Mom won’t die. […]
We’re not the only ones who do this, are we? Not the only ones who storyboard the deaths of our loved ones while we make dinner, take out the garbage, run the evening bathwater? It could happen at any time, we imagine, and so we’d best think it through, so as not to be completely unprepared.
* * *
That’s an excerpt from “A version of upright,” my essay in the current, luscious, issue of Stealing Time, a new literary magazine for parents.
I received my contributor’s copies in the mail the other day, and was sucked in immediately, the way that happens with a good magazine. There’s fiction (including a great flash story by Randon Billings Noble, whom I met last year at BlogHer. Killer opening: “After my wedding, I start to have infidelity dreams. Or rather, that’s what they become. Before that they were just dreams.”), poetry (Heather Bell’s “Wolves each children” is brutal and haunting: “And so I am here to tell you what the doctors / will not: that when you lose a baby, you will feel like a Nazi and the sadness will fill /the room quietly on stilts, hovering at the ceiling.), nonfiction, reviews, more.
I’m pretty thrilled to be part of the “Relations” issue of this magazine — the essay I have in it is honestly one of my most cherished pieces of writing, one that took forever to find a home, one that I despaired might never find a home. And now I’m glad it took as long as it did to find the right place.
I have a few extra copies to share. If you’d like one, please leave a comment on this post by, say, end of day Friday, and I’ll pick three names randomly to receive a copy. In the meantime, why not subscribe? They need you, and it’s a fairly safe bet that you probably need them.