Some outtakes really hurt, like this one about my mother’s youngest sister, Agnes

“Is Jennie up to talking?” she asked. “Or should I tell you.”

“She’ll be OK,” he said, hearing the urgency in Esther’s voice.

Jennie got herself slowly to the phone and stiffened as soon as the conversation began. “Oh no, poor Agnes.”

Carl moved close to Jennie even as he observed strength and determination flowing into her body.

“It’s cancer,” Jennie told Carl. “Agnes is at Yale/New Haven hospital. They don’t have any hope. Poor Agnes. Poor Esther, alone again.”

Carl watched Jennie revive. She knows Esther needs her.

“I visited Aunt Agnes in the hospital today,” Mona reported some days later. “I’m so glad I did. She seemed really happy to see me, and really lonely for company.”

“How did she look?” Jennie asked.

“Not as bad as I expected, but it is so sad. She kept saying ‘It’s not fair. I’m the youngest; I shouldn’t be the first to go.’ And you know how she always sort of grasped me as if she wanted me to leave a piece of myself with her…? Well, that’s what she did when I had to leave.”

Late in October, Jennie and Carl asked Mona to come to Forestville so they could take her out to lunch at Johnny’s Restaurant for her birthday. On the way Mona stopped at the Forestville Nursing Center to visit Agnes who’d been there since leaving the hospital.

“I was really angry,” Mona reported. “When I arrived, I told the nurse I was there to see Agnes Galloway. She took me to her room and yelled at Aunt Agnes to wake up because she had a guest. Poor Aunt Agnes. I know she’s been in such pain. Why couldn’t she just let her sleep – or let me go in quietly to be with her. Anyway, I got the impression Aunt Agnes was happy – maybe even eager – to see me, and started talking right away, as if there was something she wanted me to know. But her words were so soft and slurred I couldn’t understand them. I didn’t let her know that, though. I kissed her like I thought what she said was very special – I’m sure it was. And then she went back to sleep.”




Posted February 8, 2020 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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  1. Hi Mona,

    I have always felt that you are a gifted writer. The depth of your feelings as you visit your Aunt Agnes are
    to me a fine example of your gift. Thank you for sharing.

    Hope you are well. All the best always.


  2. I agree with Jack – this is beautifully written. The nurse sure doesn’t sound like she was very sensitive.

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