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The Sun Magazine

Family and Relationships

Elder care

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Wayward Daughter

I’m at my father’s bedside, his hand resting in mine. His skin feels thin, but his nails grow thick and long, creeping a half inch beyond the rounded flesh. They’re the only part of him that seems healthy. How can the nails keep growing like this when his heart pumps barely enough blood to keep him alive?

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

A Good Daughter

But what daughter wouldn’t be unnerved by such foreshadowings of the time when her mother won’t be able to take care of herself; when she will have to be cooked for, spoon-fed, helped out of bed, cleaned in the most private of ways? You want your mother to be there to take care of you, to wipe away a smudge with her spit, to make you dinner, to catch you before you fall.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Extraordinary Measures

My trailer shudders in the relentless prairie wind. Despite insulating tape on the pipes that run beneath it and the space heater I’ve put down the well pit, the water has been frozen solid for five days. Drafts force their way past the sheets of plastic I stretched over the windows back in October. When the furnace runs, the trailer is warm enough, but as soon as it shuts off, cold creeps out from the walls to take over the center of my rooms. Somehow I endure, crawling out from under my pile of quilts to start my truck every few hours so that the oil doesn’t freeze, or to carry buckets of water up the hill from the hydrant by the shed.