The Last Detour: Forgiving My Dying Mother

Veronica’s jealousy drove one daughter to run away at 14, and the other to write a darkly accusing memoir. Then Maria Flook and her sister gave their dying mother one more chance.

By Maria Flook

Back at the Life Care unit, we found our mother drifting in and out of sleep.

"Is she napping, or do you think we should call the nurse?" Karen asked.

I nudged Veronica until she opened her eyes.

Karen said, "We found something you’ll like."

Veronica said, "It was a silly idea to send you shopping. On a goose chase — besides, who’s going to see it but us?" She always felt despair having no current man in her life. She plucked sheets of white tissue from the little scrap of satin. "It’s perfect," she said. "It’s what I would have chosen myself."

Maria Flook’s nonfiction books include Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod and a memoir, My Sister Life. Her new novel is Lux.

Originally published in MORE magazine, June 2005.

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