I did what most writers do when something happens that's overwhelming, fascinating, moving, all of that. I didn't know what else to do about it except write about it.
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I can't even consider the prospect of grandchildren because I don't know if there will be anything left for them on Earth. That's how serious the problem is. We can't drink the water or breathe the air, and we're all dying from some sort of cancer. How many generations can sustain that? It frightens me terribly.
I'm part of the tribe who have said goodbye to one parent and are feeling a sense of responsibility for the one who remains - in my case, my mother. How do I make her time smoother, happier? How do I try to ease her, a widow, away from the dark well of grief without dishonoring the necessity of that grief?
It's a tender and complicated dance, watching our parents age. We become protective in ways we never were before, and we study them with a mix of sadness and curiosity: Is this what we will be like when we are their age? We tell ourselves to be patient - just answer the same question again as if it wasn't answered a moment ago.
My father started growing very quiet as Alzheimer's started claiming more of him. The early stages of Alzheimer's are the hardest because that person is aware that they're losing awareness. And I think that that's why my father started growing more and more quiet. I think he felt, 'I don't want to say something wrong.' That's my sense of it.
My father would never have said about any of his children you shouldn't express your opinions. But it's the way in which you express them. And for me to do - to speak at demonstrations and be as strident as I was now I see wasn't right. And it - there was a better way to do it. I could have written articles.