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Bringing Our Bodies To Santa Cruz Island

By Thatcher Carter

With our girlfriends, my daughter and I hiked a one-mile dirt trail to Sunset Rock in Sequoia National Park at dusk.

We didn’t have flashlights or bear whistles or provisions; we were skeptical we could get there in time. But when we came around the final corner, we saw the valley afforded us time, the sun had barely brushed the tops of the trembling trees, and we relaxed into sunset-watching postures.

Back at home, my mother’s health was worsening. She had a virus and a low potassium reading. Only seventy-seven years, she felt ancient. During the drive home from the Sequoias, I told her to meet me at the emergency room, and she did, and she was admitted, and her organs failed, and she died. Thirty-six hours after she had been admitted and seventy-two hours after I had watched the sunset in the Sequoias, I held my mom’s hand and watched her body settle into the hospital bed in a deep, heavy release. Her skin stopped holding itself taut, as if air had been released from a valve.

 

     

About the Author

Thatcher Carter is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer based in Riverside, CA, where she teaches at Riverside City College. Her essays have been published in Journal of Popular Culture, 3Elements Review, Muse, and the anthologies Awake in the World and 2017 Writing from Inlandia. She was honored to participate in the Writer-to-Writer Program with the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and is currently sending out her first novel Salt City. She lives in Riverside in an empty nest with her husband Ross and their two springer spaniels.

 

 

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