my sisters pulled me aside when i got to our mom's house in sacramento last night. we'd all received an email from our grandmother's nurse while joe and i were flying out from new york.
Katherine's Family,

Please join me in holding your Mother and Grandmother now in your best prayers, meditations and contemplations - she has stopped eating, drinking and talking since last night., the result of high fevers and decreasing appetite since before Christmas. She received the Last Rites an hour ago and is resting comfortably. Your spiritual support at this time is priceless to her, thank you.

If you wish to call in order to say something to her, please call the room phone, XXX-XXX-XXXX anytime.

May you be at peace knowing she is at peace,
i believe lea; grandma kathy is a devout catholic, and if she is lucid she knows she'll soon see her husband (who died when my dad was seven) and her savior.

i wrote her a letter on christmas eve and described our trip to germany: she would have loved the way a lone vocalist poured evensong into the berliner dom. a handful of germans complimented me on my pronunciation, i said; perhaps the family tree's roots are buckling my sidewalk at last. the letter before that touched on my health journalism and her years of nursing. she knows, i tell myself, that i am made, in part, of her. she knows that i know.

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