As a child I thought our blonde staircase grand, that it went on forever. From the floor where I tottered, looking up, it seemed I’d never be able to navigate my way to the top, that I’d never be able to reach the sturdy oak banister, to grip it as I’d take each step, one at a time.

Eventually, I did, of course. I bounded up those steps, two at a time, to reach the seclusion of my room, my solitary space, my sanctuary. “The princess is in her dungeon,” my father would proclaim to anyone asking the whereabouts of his teenage daughter.

Eventually, I walked slowly down those steps, with trepidation, the train of my wedding gown lofted behind me by my two little sisters, out of harm’s way. Away from my room, my solitude, into a world shared with husband, children.

Eventually, I returned to those stairs to help my mother descend from her room, one step at a time, to the floor below, where she tottered, through the living room, the foyer, to the front door. Outside, we guided her down the short flight of concrete steps, over the path lined with American Beauty roses, her favorite, and carefully settled her in my father’s car.

Eventually, we arrived at the rest home, as hospice was called in those days. We walked my mother up a ramp that led to wide glass doors. The small lobby smelled like disinfectant. My mother looked at me and touched my hair, my cheek. For the first time that day, she seemed to know me; for the last time.


One comment

  • Adele

    Beautifully written, I can see you going up and down those stairs. I can hear your Father’s voice, and I can see your Mother’s face. I can feel your sorrow.

    March 18, 2012

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