live with my wife in Brooklyn, thousands of miles from my mother's home in Tucson. My two young adult children live here in Brooklyn as well. We had a plan to visit my mother in April 2020. It had been a couple of years since we had all gathered there and my mom was in her 85th year.
My mom was a Registered Nurse, so when she called in February to say, "don't come, it's too dangerous," I listened. We cancelled the plans and then the quarantine came: my son's record-launch gig was cancelled, we listened to the shriek of ambulence sirens for months, we joined in on BLM protests nervously, afraid that chants and maskless cops would spread the virus, and baked bread, cooked a lot of stews, watched too much televsion.
Then came August and I went to Tucson to see my mom off -- she was dying, not from infection, but I think brought down to utter frailty and capitulation from what seemed like never-ending isolation. I was with her until a week before her death: RIP Harriet L. K., 1935-2020.