Photo by Rami Efal

After dinner by the dining table:

Bernie, do you ever get sad?

I get sad when we fight or if you’re upset about something.

But do you ever get sad about the stroke? About the fact that you can’t do what you did, that instead you have to rest a lot in bed?


What about when your eyes weren’t working and you couldn’t look at anything for a couple of months, wasn’t that terrible?

Yeah, but I wasn’t sad.

What about the people we don’t get to see anymore? Don’t you miss them?


Why do you keep on asking those questions? says Stan from under the table.

No commentary, canine. Ignore him, Bernie.

Ignore whom? I don’t hear anything.

Bernie, don’t you get sad when you think about how this happened to you just when you were cutting down on so much work and enjoying life?


You never get sad about the slow walking with the cane, the cancer, not being able to maneuver with your hand, difficulties with the computer?

No. The only time I get sad is if when you are sad, or when you are upset.

From under the table: Like I said, the Man’s as clear as can be, in the groove with things as they are. Doesn’t question anything, doesn’t get all fluffy and mushy. Was this way from Day 1. Too bad he married a drama queen.

You don’t get it, Stan. True, it’s important to rest in the moment, be fully present to—

Who’re you talking to?

I’m talking to Stanley, Bernie.

You’re talking to a dog? Say hi from me.

Stanley, we also need feelings and imagination. We need our yearning for life even when we face illness or death. We need beauty even when it comes out of a sense of loss. We need to call things by their names, recite poetry, break our hearts, love like crazy, the whole shishkabob.

I guess in this family that gets cut right down a little funny. He loves this moment, and you love everything else. By the way, I love shishkabobs. How come you don’t make any?

I don’t have time to set up the grill.

Are you still talking to Stanley? wonders Bernie. You two sure carry on long conversations.

From under the table: Don’t you understand the deep generosity of accepting life for just what it is? The Man’s after a stroke, life has changed, and he’s living it without remorse or regret, content in the small moments. Can’t you get that? Oh no, here she goes, tears in her eyes. Drama queen cries again! Like I said, he LOVES the moment, you LOVE your feelings.