The other day Ernie asked me if I remembered my parents' home care worker's last name. I was blank for a moment but then he read a name to me and I said, "Yes, yes, yes, that's it." There was a single line obituary in the News-Gazette. We wondered if it could be her, but then again it's a somewhat common name. Surely not, we thought. I googled a bit, found nothing. I'm Facebook friends with her but there was nothing on her page. I sent her a message. No response.

Yesterday, I googled again and found a tribute page to her. It was indeed her. Now she and I had some battles. In the end, though, she loved my parents. And, if you've ever dealt with hiring people to help care for your family members, you can't pay someone to love. It just doesn't work that way. They loved her too. It's an intimate relationship when someone cares for a family member and I came to love her very much.

We've run into her occasionally over the years since my parents have been gone. I saw her just about a month ago at Fries and Peanuts. I don't remember what was happening but we'd gotten some sort of bad news about Ernie. I don't recall, but I know I was getting teary so I stood up and made my way for the bathroom. Before I could get there I ran into her. She gave me a big hug and looked at my face. I tearfully whispered, "Ernie's cancer is back." She hugged me so hard and asked me what she could do to help us. Later she came by to give Ernie a hug too. We laughed over some memories, such as when my father, in a fit of Alzheimer's confused rage tried to call the police on her because the ancient cat litter box cracked when she cleaned it. He eventually was convinced not to call the police but pointed at her and yelled, "OUT." Then his voice softened and he pointed to her daughter, maybe about 3 or 4 years old then, and said, "but she can stay." We laughed and laughed. Before she left she told us to just let her know what she could do. She said she'd clean our house or do errands…anything we needed, no charge because we were family.

She was 43 and leaves behind two children, both younger than the boys. The tribute page says nothing about how she died. The obituary said she'd died at home. I know she'd had substance abuse issues. I can only assume it was that.

One time she wistfully told my mother she wished she had been her mother. I wish she'd had someone like my mother too. She would have had more than a fighting chance. 

All my love to you, Sara. All my love.

It made yesterday another strange, hard day. It proceeded as usual though. I did some work. I watched some tv. Ernie and Owen bought a fancy new toilet plunger and battled the toilet victoriously. Later, I self medicated with wine and tortilla chips.

2020 has been such a year of loss, and here it is only March. I'm afraid of what is to come.

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