by Jamy Bond
I find that writing about darker subjects is a rewarding way to contain my own difficult experience. Many of the details in Morphine are fiction, but the situation is very true. My sister and I fought at our father’s bedside over how much morphine to give him. I realized that our conflict was a complicated manifestation of the unique and challenging history we each had with our father. We both felt we were doing the humane thing, but our definition of that was rooted in a subjective need to control the final narrative. For me, tending to my dying father brought every messy, confusing, cathartic emotion to the surface and then neutralized the playing field. Finally, I could see him for who he truly way: a loving and gentle human being who was, sadly, haunted by his own difficult past.
My sister and I found ourselves in a similar situation at our mother’s bedside, where our unique and challenging history with her presented itself in a struggle over who would keep the fake yellow rose the morgue attendants left on her hospice bed. I won that struggle only to drop the rose, accidentally, in a puddle and crush it with my foot. That day, I wept over the rose more than I did my mother.
I think we are designed to understand the world and our place in it through stories, symbols, metaphors, melodies, and writing about our most difficult experiences can be an effective way to satisfy our quest to find meaning in who we are and why we find ourselves on this journey from birth to death.
Jamy Bond’s stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in a variety of publications, including Cheap Pop, Pithead Chapel, JMWW, Barren Magazine, Wigleaf, The Rumpus and The Sun Magazine. She earned her MFA from George Mason University where she co-founded So To Speak Journal. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. She is an editor for SugarSugarSalt and a reader for the Atticus Review. Find her at www.jamybond.com or on Twitter: @bond_jamy