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     Mary McWhorter-Banks 1925 – 2020                       

Uh-will the wind ever remember the names it has blow in the past?

                                      And with this crutch, its old age

          And its wisdom it whispers, “No, this will be the last”  – Jimi Hendrix

Mary is 94 years old with severe dementia, and resides in a hospice facility in Oklahoma. And she’s my mom. On November 6th, 2020 mom passed away from complications of Covid-19. This is the last moments I spent with mom.

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Mom sits silently in her wheelchair vacantly staring at the bear wall above her bed. On occasion she will touch her locket that hangs around her neck. I know she feels like leaving, but she can’t go. Mom doesn’t know that this is her tomorrow. There are only fleeting moments when the depths of her dementia recedes, and she sees me sitting on her bed.

“What are you doing here?” She asks. 

As quickly as I can answer. Mom vanishes back into the dark corridors of her mind. She’s gone, only to be replaced with an empty stare to the white wall above her bed. My love for the woman who gave me life isn’t always available, but somewhere in moms mind I can only hope she knows that I have not abandoned her. 

I open my computer and start to play music to fill the void of silence in her room. Out of the corner of my sight, moms leg starts to gently move, I slowly turn my head so as not to detract from moms gaze. Following her leg down to the tip of her fuzzy pink slipper. Mom begins to tap the metal footrest of her wheelchair. Mom smiles, and the paleness of her cheeks disappears and is replaced with a rosy pink color hue. I wonder, what if I play music from her youth.

Playing a mix of Frank Sinatra songs, the room fills with big band music with “Ol’ Blue Eyes” at the mic.

“ I always liked him” she says somewhat abruptly. 

“Mom were you a bobby-soxer?”

There is a pause as mom searches her past, “Yes.”  

She looks over at me after answering.

“Who are you?”  she ask 

“Mom, I’m your historian.”

A broom is drearily sweeping up the broken pieces of yesterdays life

Somewhere a queen is weeping

Somewhere a king has no wife

And the wind, it cries Mary  – Jimi Hendrix

IMG_0779.jpgThe chances of my parents, Nelson Banks and Mary Brooks meeting and finding each other attractive enough to start messing around until they had a child (me) is 1 in 2,000. I can only assume that Nelson was at his prime health wise and rocketed a large amount of sperm, approximately 250 million squiggles. So, the chances of you or any of us being conceived to become who we are from that one particular egg meeting that single sperm is astronomical. Think about it, that one sperm that surfed your mother’s reproductive tract, to fertilizing her egg, overcoming a great number of obstacles and barriers that will make it difficult through the tubular of the Fallopian without wiping out and hit its target, momma’s egg. That is 1 in 4 quadrillion. Let me repeat that, the odds of your lineage remaining unbroken long enough to create you is 1 in 4 quadrillion. That means that every single one of your ancestors also had to be conceived to become exactly who they were. You have no choice in the matter by the way. When you calculate all of these Las Vegas odds and possibilities the chances of you existing right now as you drink you coffee with the tv on is basically zero. You’re a fucking miracle so start acting like it for G-d sakes. Have a nice day!

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“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – Haile Selassie

In a joint action, registered nurses in over 40 U.S. cities  demanded that the new administration and Congress protect and expand millions of Americans’ access to healthcare, not cut it.  
 “On this day of action we are standing with our elders, our friends, and family, along with many of our elected representatives to say NO to the Republicans’ disastrous proposals,” said Deborah Burger, Co-president, National Nurses United. “At this moment of tremendous confusion about the future of health care in the U.S., nurses are saying, now is the time to move forward with Medicare for all.”
 “RNs see the Medicare formula as the solution because it has a terrific track record of providing quality patient care to millions of elderly and disabled Americans,” said Burger. “As nurses we urge Congress to adopt a comprehensive solution to our healthcare crisis once and for all by updating and expanding Medicare so that it provides universal healthcare.”