I was never there when any of them died: my mother, my father, my sisters, my brother, close friends, other loved ones—I was always somewhere else (not on purpose, mind you, but still, I often think about this, just the same…). The death-bed scene was written into our parents’ Victorian sensibilities, a focal point for future mourning, but it so happens I was always among the missing; for me, the last time was always some time before, so that the final looks, the final gestures, the words often memorialized in a nation’s fiction as well as in the unforgettable facts,…
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