by Dan Crawley
Read his story This Goes On and On here
For years, my mom’s deteriorating health created a falling risk in the last years of her life. She had one bad fall in the middle of the night, striking her head against the corner of a night stand. It was fortunate that she wasn’t severely hurt, but her failing heart made her weaker, more reliant on my dad and others to do even the most basic tasks. I stepped up and helped out by making meals for both of my parents, helping around the house, freeing up my dad to concentrate on taking care of her. Then my dad fell in the shower one morning, cracking open his head, and everything changed. My caretaking ramped up, and though my dad did slowly heal, his balance issues while trying to move around the house became more precarious. Now along with my mom, my dad had to use a walker after the fall. And it wasn’t long until I learned their own particular walker gaits as I listened to them make their way to the kitchen and back again.
I set out to write a story about the different manners in which my parents traveled along in their metal frames. I didn’t want the story to detail the day-to-day struggles of their failing health (my dad was diagnosed with kidney disease just before his fall). That is why this piece became a micro. A brief description of their differences on the move. Their tender coming together. The two paragraphs are sufficient for what I want to express in this story. Since my mom passed away in November of 2021, I’ve been a full-time caretaker for my dad. I’m grateful that I wrote about both of them together, in a moment away from their, at times, insurmountable frailties. Happy in their newfound love on a dance floor once more.
Dan Crawley is the author of Straight Down the Road (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019), The Wind, It Swirls (Cowboy Jamboree Press, 2021) and Blur (Cowboy Jamboree Press, 2023). His writing appears in Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, JMWW, Milk Candy Review, Atticus Review, and elsewhere. His work has been nominated for Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction, and a Pushcart Prize. Find him at https://twitter.com/danbillyc.