Divisive Decisions


Divisive Decisions

brain cancer

glioblastoma, stage 3.5

diagnosed December 2019 

we spent Christmas at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital when families could still visit 

she came home with a paralyzed right side 

not uncommon after brain surgery 

started therapy 

at Warm Springs Rehab 

“we need to get them some help”

the sons urged

“dad can’t do this by himself….he’s 84 

and she can’t walk”

“we’ll all take turns…. we’ve got this” 

the daughter 

decided unanimously 

all by herself

for everyone

and became 

an overnight cheerleader 

then she lost 

her glitzy hair bow and pompoms 

her manicure faded

and the stress 

of the no-help decision

aged her drastically

the sons had full time jobs 

the sons knew 

their dad wasn’t equipped to be a full-time caretaker 

the sons saw the limitations 

the daughter balked  

the daughter said 

no to help 

no to hospice 

no to living

no to dying

“no drug-induced stupors here” she swore

thus proving that some stupors aren’t

the sons begged for comfort measures 

the sons pleaded for medical mercy 

         for their mother 

but full medical power was granted the daughter

“I see crying but I don’t see tears” the daughter pointed out….


the daughter accused the sons of not helping more 

the sons accused the daughter of abuse and neglect of their mother 

the fighting got ugly 

the fighting continues 

a feckless father 


as his 

wordless wife 

wails and writhes 

in her corner chair 

every day 

all day long 

as his children disagree –

draw lines

end unity 

as a family falls apart –

from once-upon-a-time

Florida vacations 

under the same big roof

in the same warm sunshine

as a life ends –

a mother whose 

greatest pride was always 

her precious family

some decisions 

are beyond difficult 

decisions about death 

can be 

divisively impossible

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