The Hand, the DJ Marcus’s Feet and Satish

a story in 109 days

Day 96

Awake.  Project 3.  Begins now.  Don’t care about the time.  The day.   All that matters is we live a lifetime of conversations now.


Her: no.


Me:  Maggie?


Her:  And Lauren and Connor


Me:   Hey.


Her: Dad, we don’t understand project 3.


Me:  I need to talk about each of you. I need to tell you things I’ve never told you.


Her: Why?


Me:  So you have them.  You hold them.


Her:  Like Stacey’s dad’s letter at her wedding, read by Uncle Brin?


Me.  A little.


Her: That’s TV Dad.


Me:  Okay.  I wasn’t thinking of a Speak and Say, where I write a letter for every event in your life.


Her: Don’t know what that is, but good.  We don’t want to be opening letters our whole life from you Dad.  We love you but that is a bit odd.


Me: Okay.  But can I can I write something for each of you and talk to you.  To say…


Her:  Yes.


Him:  No hugging.  No learning.

Day 94



Me:  Day?

Him: 94.

Day 92

Day 91

Awake.  I don’t care what day.  I can’t waste key strokes.

Love letter 3.


How’s it going.  Things great here.  Lots of sleep.  Feel well rested.  Bit bored actually.  Think I’ll watch TV later.  Don’t have time to fuck around.  Here’s the thing.  I love how you handle the stuff that mattered.  And thankfully, we had to face very few things that mattered.  But in part, that is because you let a lot of big things happen easily.  Like a trip to and from Moscow.  Like being a doctor in a new clinic in Moscow.  Like driving to emergency calls in the back streets of Moscow, not being able to read the alphabet to find and treat patients.  What bravery.  Who does that?   Like Miscarriage.  Like the third infertility treatments that failed month after month after month.  You’d start spotting and we’d finally fall asleep. Spooning and tears.  I held you so tight.  And cancer. And the swiss ball.  If we had time, if my hands could last I would tell these stories.  But we’re out of time.

I love you that you avoid drama.  We’ve had dramatic moments.  But you’ve avoided the drama each and every time.  You dampen.  You don’t amplify.  And that let’s me avoid the drama.

And my dad died.  And I had to deliver the Eulogy.  And I speak every day of my life in front of large crowds.  And you knew I was losing it.  You knew I almost didn’t stand.  And no one else knows. And you’ve never said anything dramatic about that.   I know you are a geeky nerd that smells of horse.  And you know that I almost failed my dad when it really mattered.  And never said a word. Just held and steadied by very shaking, very sweaty hand.

So thanks for the years without drama.  Better to hold hands and watch is on TV.  Kids, your Mom can be trusted with your darkest secret and your deepest pain. She will protect them and protect you.  But you need to let her in.

Otherwise, all great here. A bit quiet.   Thinking of ordering room service tonight – Tacos.




ME:  I’m running out of strength.  It is all too quick.  Too rushed.  Not how I wanted it to go.


HER:  Given this is our first time, I think it is going well. And thank you.  

Day 90

Day 89

Day 88



Left hand moves.


Church.  Sort of.  Steeple.  Sort of.


Key board?




Her hands move the keyboard gently under my weakened hands.


Me:  Hello.


Her:  Hello.


Me:  Day?


Her:  88


Me:   Wonder?  How am I?  Really?


Her:  Not great.  Things are shutting down?


Me: What’s left.


Her:   Tubes and skin.  The great reconstruction isn’t going well.


Me:  Hands hurt.


Her:  Wait a day.


Me:  Tomorrow, shoot me up with all you got.


Her:  All we got is what got you here.


Me:   Christ.

Day 87

Wake.  I’m on the ceiling looking down.  And I watch.  I watch Tina hover over bandages and tubes.  This is the reconstruction project.  I see tubes going into tubes – no, the second must be my arms, because I see lovely hands at the ends.  I see most white/red fabric, like building tarps scattered around this City block.  But I see fields, patches of what must be skin, all rippled, like water in an angry wind.  And I watch with wonder as Tina takes cream from tubes and massage it gently to into these whipped areas to calm the waters.  (I seriously suck at metaphors – field or pond?  Field or pond?)  If there’s a sound track here, its Wires…


I am awake all day I think, or all shift.  Tina works on me for hours.  I see her sit every hour. And rip off her plastic gloves.  But head in hands and take deep breaths.  And then she stands, grabs new gloves and begins again.


I see Harry, hand on her shoulder, walking around the City block, checking all the screens.  I’ve decided I’m Times Square during all the construction to make it more ‘pedestrian.’  (Oddly appropriate pun here)  I’m a City Block surrounded by screens.  I am blessed to have Harry and Tina.  They have given me these 100 days and I think them.  I’ve not felt any pain, Tina. I’ve felt safe and protected Harry.  And I’ve finally felt your hands and the good works they do….

Day 86

Katie here.  We’ve had a lot of silent days here.  And I promised this to Satish.  Here are my favourite bits from Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement address at Stanford:


When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.


Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.


No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.



Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Day 85



Her. Good enough.  I think there’s a lot of versions of this.




Her:  There’s nothing to be good at here Satish.  We’re one in a billion going through this?  Why should this be different? Why should this be important?   It is only important because it is about us.  It’s only importance is that it is uniquely and completely about us.  It’s meaning is in the poo stories.  That’s where it is.




Her:  Stick with him Satish.  We love you.  We need you.  Stick with him.