There wasn’t room for her in the Residents’ wing so they put Gram upstairs in Memory Care. Just for the night, they promised, just for the night.
Lordy haven’t I been the fool, she thought, expecting my son to have worked everything out ahead of time instead of just dumping me here. A damn fool. As soon as the sun rose and she could see to dial the phone she called him. “They’ve put me in Memory Care.” He was silent. “Charlie! Are you listening to me?”
“Ma, it’s five o’clock in tha mornin’!”
“You come get me until they have a room in the Residents’ wing. I might be frail but I still got my wits about me.”
“Ma, you know I gotta work and Lois gotta work too. I can’t stay home and watch you. What if you have another fall and no one’s here and you can’t reach your oxygen? You know you gotta stay. They’ll move you as soon as they can. Ma. . . Ma? You ain’t crying are ya? Lois and I’ll be down to see you on Saturday.”
“I won’t be here on Saturday,” she said, reaching over to hang up the phone. “I’ll be dead.”
“Ma. . . .” Charlie moaned, but it was too late. The phone was already on its way down. Click.
In the next room she heard the thump thump thump of a machine keeping a body alive, probably against the will of its owner.
in the end
as in the beginning
do we still own our bodies?
She knew she was about to find out.
The sound reminded her of the machines at the factory where Jim worked for forty years. All day long they ran. She never understood how a person could stand that sound for ten hours a day, six days a week, particularly the children who ⏤ before the unions Jim despised fought back ⏤ worked ten hours a day, six days a week. It had been a bone of contention between she and Jim since the terrible day they met.
(July 17, 1898 – Happy Birthday Gram! It took me awhile but, per your instructions, I’m writing your story,)