“She’s so frail it scares me.” Kara drove like the SoCal transplant-native she was, weaving in and out of traffic with aplomb, twisting the radio knob to tune in on reports of freeway backups, and returning appropriate gestures from other drivers, friendly or otherwise.
“Last week she broke a tooth biting into a piece of chicken,” Kara reported. “She was absolutely furious at the indignity of her body’s betrayal, not to mention the indignity of having to put up with a new gap in her smile. Then she strained something during a coughing spell. Turned out she cracked a rib.
Her doctor told her she was a little dehydrated and admitted her. But the prognosis isn’t good. I don’t know how much time she has. Not much.”
She sucked in a quick breath and her eyes glistened.
“However,” forced brightness, “you know Mom. She’s giving her doctors a bad time. And she’s positively determined that she’ll be at Dree’s wedding. I told her we’d get her there even if we have to hire an ambulance.”
Whenever Kara and Nila were together they easily fell into the exchange of humor that got them through every chore and heartache shared as girls, like singing two-part harmony over a sink full of dirty dishes.
“We can sneak her out.” Nila sang the first stanza.
“I know! You distract the nurses and I’ll steal a wheelchair.” Kara knew the next verse.
“Let’s see. I can faint. Or, maybe set fire to the charts.”
“Meanwhile, I’ll wheel into Mom’s room, disconnect all those tubes, load her into the wheelchair, and head for the exit.”
“Maybe you better put a sheet over her head.”
Kara laughed. “Okay. Okay. When we get to the parking lot, you run for the car and get it running. Soon as she’s buckled up, take off like a bat out of hell.”
They were both laughing then, and crying at the same time. Kara sucked in another quick breath.
“You want to stop at the house and freshen up, or go straight to the hospital?”
Title: The Daughters Lem
Author: Nila Aamoth
Genre: Biographical / Memoir / Historical
The Daughters of Lem witnessed and survived the tragic event that forever transformed them. Orphaned, frightened, fiercely independent, the four sisters fought defiantly to raise themselves. But Lucille, Louise, and Nell Rose could not defeat the notion of a Lem bad seed; they chose to remain childless. Only Dorothy sought to achieve what she perceived to be a “normal” life as a wife and mother. In the process, she discovered her power as an independent woman. Her own three offspring became a new generation of the Daughters of Lem, and fortunate participants in their mother’s improbably joyful journey.
Author Bio Nila Knack Aamoth wrote her first story at age four, and never stopped plying the pencil, the typewriter, and finally the computer keyboard. She began her journalism career in Houston, Texas, and owned two community newspapers in Michigan. For 25 years, she was editor and publisher of The Penasee Globe. “I figured my thoughts were more valuable than the traditional penny, so I called my weekly column A Nickel’s Worth,” she likes to joke. Those mostly light-hearted musings won her numerous state and national writing awards. Her insightful editorials, both humorous and serious, won the Michigan Press Association award for “Best Editorial” two years running. “I believed I could write about anything,” she says. “But writing the incredible story of my own family was almost too heart-wrenching. I think I’ve finally grown up!”