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Oates Remembrance

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

[Bernard Gotfryd, in the New Yorker]

Joyce Carol Oates has a beautiful remembrance of her husband’s last week of life (and her experience of it) in the December 13 issue of The New Yorker. Unfortunately, the online version is behind a paywall, so you will need to pay or get your hands on a print issue to see it. Make the effort.

Oates’ husband, Raymond Smith, died suddenly almost three years ago while hospitalized for pneumonia. (See the brief NYT obit here.) I could quote from her article, but really, you owe it to yourself to read it in full, without preview. I’ll just say that parts of it reminded me of our experience in August during the last week of Gail’s brother Gary’s life, when he too was connected to various measuring devices and you could study his oxygen intake with each breath. Oh, and of course, we have our own memories of arriving at the emergency entrance of Princeton Medical Center, near the end of the year we lived in Princeton, first when Joel fell off a speaker he had climbed on — around the time of his first birthday — and cut his face near his eye, and second just weeks later when Gail took an elbow in her face during a summer evening volleyball game and was lucky her cheekbone wasn’t broken.

Oops. There I go again. This isn’t about me, even if it is my blog. It’s about Joyce Carol Oates. Do read her article.

Categories: Life, Writing
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