On the way to the funeral, Kerry told me about the last time she saw her grandmother. She wouldn’t use a fork and scooped up bits of manicotti with a sugar cookie instead.
“I don’t like this,” the grandmother kept saying, crumbling the miniature Christmas tree between her fingers.
“It’s ok. You don’t have to eat it,” Kerry’s father said.
“Mom,” Kerry’s mother said. “Ma! Do you want something else? Something else?”
After Christmas they moved the grandmother to Care Center, a maze-like network of hospital buildings. Kerry’s father worked with the insurance companies, and her mother brought over bags of towels. Folding them reminded the grandmother of sewing. The grandmother caught scabies and had to wear a metal anklet that beeped if she strayed too far. For her birthday, Kerry’s parents bought her a special clock that displayed the time and the day of the week.
“I don’t like this,” the grandmother said, sweeping a pile of crumbs onto her lap.
“I hope none of us gets it,” Kerry’s mother said as she cleared the table.
Kerry’s parents had begun playing Scrabble every week and were learning Spanish online.
I turned into the driveway of the funeral home, and a man in a grey suit holding an umbrella waved me towards an open space.
I watched Kerry’s reflection in the passenger side window.
“Scabies is contagious,” I said. “That’s why you didn’t visit.”
She nodded, patting her swollen belly.
We unbuckled our seatbelts and stepped into the rain.