Tuesday, January 5, 2016

the last book I ever read (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, excerpt fourteen)

from Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan:

My dad’s raptness at the boat rail wasn’t just raptness. It was Parkinson’s. The symptoms came on slowly, then not slowly. The disease carried him away from us, mentally. His life became a torment. He didn’t sleep for a year. He dies in November 2008, in my mother’s arms, with his children around him. They had been married for fifty-six years.

My mother was flattened, as I had never seen her, by my father’s final year. Always thin, now she was gaunt. She resumed going out—to concerts, plays, movies—with friends, with me. She was still an enthusiast—I remember how intensely she liked Winter’s Bone, how thoroughly she hated Avatar—but her lungs began to fail her. She had bronchiectasis, a respiratory disease. It causes, among other things, shortness of breath. It sapped her strength. A lifetime of Los Angeles smog was implicated. We took her on vacation to Honolulu, renting a house in the old neighborhood near Diamond Head. Her room looked out on the water. Her three granddaughters curled up on her big bed with her. She could not have been happier, she said.

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