Week 11 Response

The piece I chose to respond to this week is called “Any Good News?” by Carol Feiner. It was published on April 1, 2012 in Hippocampus magazine (http://www.hippocampusmagazine.com/2012/04/any-good-news-by-carol-feiner/). I know I just posted on a piece from this magazine, but I couldn’t help myself. They set it up so that you get to read like the first line or two of the piece beside the title and I got sucked in. I have at least two more I plan to write about too lol. This essay is awesome though. Just read this:

“The old ladies sit and wait to die. While they are waiting they might play Bingo or have their hair done, but do not be fooled. What they really want to do is die. My mother is 98. She recently received a letter from the synagogue suggesting that she make a donation commemorating the fourth anniversary of my father’s death. This pitched her into despair and confusion, as she had forgotten that he had died. “No one told me,” she sobbed, “I’m all alone.” For a day she refused to eat. All she wanted to do was follow him. By the next day she had forgotten that she had remembered.”

Isn’t that some powerful stuff? And that’s just the opening! There are really sad parts in this essay, like when Feiner tells her reader that her mom says that she doesn’t have a home anymore since she has moved into an assisted living facility. This is full of beautiful sentences that really penetrate their reader. Here is another one of my favorite parts: “Isabelle is the other member of my mother’s dining group. She is a sweet lady with one eye permanently closed. When I look at her I have a strange compulsion to mirror her by closing one of my eyes, but I resist.” Feiner is telling a really sad, depressing story but she manages to do so with a sense of humor that I completely understand. If she had not written this so well, the humor may have made me want to judge her, but she is obviously skilled in her craft. Since I have a great grandmother who is now 102 years old, and currently living in an assisted living facility, I found this piece very insightful and relatable. The description she gives of her mother’s room reminded me of where my great-grandmother lives. It’s very ominous and depressing. Every time I visit her there is at least one door with cards and flowers around it signifying the death of it’s former occupant. I hate being in a building where so many have died, and it makes me sad to know that she will likely die there in that tiny room, all alone. Feiner makes some interesting commentary about death and the elderly forgetting catastrophic events in their lives. A sad, but enjoyable read.

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2 Comments

  1. Carol Feiner

    Thank you for choosing my essay to review. I am amazed at the response it has received. I’m impressed by your blog!

    • I’m glad I chose it too, and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. I think your story struck my as powerfully as it did not only because of the great-grandmother I mentioned, but also because my grandpa (or “Papa” as his grandchildren know him), has been diagnosed with dementia.You really blew me away with your essay and it’s vividness.

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