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The house is silent.
My life is silent.
And dinners: they would be silent too if I did not put on the TV, timing my dinner to coincide with Jeopardy at 7 p.m. The ritual is the same: unfold a tray table; get the big cat-pillow to place on the chair behind my back, set the table with a placemat, a linen napkin, salt and paper, silverware. A glass of water—saving the wine for later, for my late repast as I watch a drama, as I permit myself pure indulgence at, say, 9 or 10.
I think about dinner, often as I get up in the morning. I plan it: something protein—maybe grilled salmon, maybe an omelet, maybe just a grilled beef dog—and a vegetable and a salad. A cookie, a little wedge of cake, maybe.
I try not to anticipate 7 p.m. too much, otherwise I will land in front of my dinner set-up with nothing in front of me but commercials and that is unsatisfactory.
I have to hit “silent” on the remote.
I write in silence now, the quiet sort of buzzing in my ears. I should put on the radio—the radio that picks up all the stations in the world. My son brought it over one day and showed me what to do. I’d lamented I couldn’t access the classical music station—my house already silent then with the death of my husband, my wanting music at least to fill the silence at times.
So: he drove over on his day off and gave me this radio. I can press the button and end this hissing silence and music from a station in Wyoming will replace the silence. I should do that now. I should do lots of things.
Then my son died, too.
I have their matching boxes of silent ashes, names engraved, sitting in the other room. I have silent keepsake urns near their photos on a table, where those little urns and photos share the table top with the keepsake urn of ashes and framed photo of my daughter.
My family is silent.
I navigate the silences, trying to make some meaning of my days. I interrupt silence with a meeting on Zoom or a walk with a friend, or a seminar, or whatever invites voices and life into my life.
Otherwise I live with the silence. Life is silent now.

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