How We Share Memories of Our Parents

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As a writer, words are my livelihood; they’re also my ammunition, my comfort, my means of making sense of senseless things. If I can sum up a complex concept succinctly, whittle out a poignant metaphor, tie up a chapter with a big, beautiful bow, I’m doing my job. But a few days ago, when my best friend calls to tell me her father has died suddenly, I stammer.

I have never in all our 20+ years of friendship heard her voice so shaken, so wracked with pain. I don’t recognize it. This woman has always been my rock, my shoulder to lean on, the one I vent to about our teenage daughters gone wild. We love to complain about our husbands over breakfast at the City Diner on 90th and Broadway and sneak off for decadent manis and pedis on the Upper East Side. Yet today, all those places are shut tight, and on the other end of the phone line stretching to Connecticut, my friend seems so far…

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