I think of my grandmother whenever I delight over rotting corpses and the life cycle of maggots, when I research methods of picking locks, escaping from car trunks, or working myself loose when I am tied to a chair and someone is trying to pull my teeth out with pliers. I think of her when I see unmarked vans with suspicious drivers. I think of her in dark alleys, or when I read news stories of cat murders.
That Pontiac was a classic American beauty: a long, wide yellow convertible with sparkling nickel and chrome trim, and gray leather seats with yellow stripes running down the middle.
Abu Anis and Abu Alaa insisted, peeling back the mink blankets and lifting their mother between them. She was crying as they carried her out, and I was on the verge of tears, too, glaring intently into the cross-stitch project on my lap.
Mom gave birth to me on the vernal equinox, just as the world begins to bloom, so it was no surprise that I inherited her love for the outdoors. We grew together as twin Persephones, bursting with life at the first sign of crocuses, and shrinking into sullen hibernation as the days darkened into winter.
Can death be dignified? And for whom—the person dying, or the living who witness and endure the loss, reflecting on their own turns to come?