"Old age is a massacre, not a battle."

“You know what would help?” she said. “The sound of that voice that’s disappeared. The sound of the exceptional man I loved. I think I could take all this if he were here. But I can’t without him. I never saw him weaken once in his life—then came the cancer and it crushed him. I’m not Gerald. He would just marshal all his forces and do it—marshal all his everything and do whatever it was that had to be done. But I can’t. I can’t take the pain anymore. It overrides everything. I think sometimes that I can’t go on another hour. I tell myself to ignore it. I tell myself it doesn’t matter. I tell myself, ‘Don’t engage it. It’s a specter. It’s an annoyance, it’s nothing more than that. Don’t accord it power. Don’t cooperate with it. Don’t take the bait. Don’t respond. Muscle through. Barrel through. Either you’re in charge or it’s in charge—the choice is yours!’ I repeat this to myself a million times a day, as though I’m Gerald speaking, and then suddenly it’s so awful I have to lie down on the floor in the middle of the supermarket and all the words are meaningless. Oh, I’m sorry, truly. I abhor tears.”

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