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The Way We Communicate is a Necessary Distraction from What We're Hearing

My sister Judy called last night. It has been since I lived in New York, and we were both in therapy to heal us of our non-dramatic childhoods, that we’ve spoken on the phone. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be one of those conversations that has no map and starts out tentatively to see if I’m in the mood, or if she was stalling on telling me something important, as a way of letting me know “this is important”, the way some people say, “Are you sitting down?” before they deliver big news.

“What’s up?” I say impatiently, hoping this isn’t a random out-of-the-blue lonely-around-the-holidays call and that it is a factual message.

She starts to build up to something and I interrupt.

“Dad. What happened.” It’s a statement. Not a question.

“You know?”

“No. What happened?” I just want her to tell me he’s alive. I was washing the kitchen sink when she called, and thinking about how much easier it was to find a good doctor when my father was the hospital administrator, which got me to thinking of all the times he carried me into the hospital when I was a kid, and too ill to walk. Then the phone rang.

“Dad had a stroke. Mom heard him coughing and went to get him a glass of water and...[read more HERE]

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