Thank You

Author: Mel Livatino

Through all the latter days of her dementia the only words she knew by heart were “Thank you” and “I love you.” They were forever on her lips. She thanked me a dozen times a day. Whether I said something nice or gave her a task to do or said “Let’s watch TV” or “Get in the car, let’s go,” she simply said “Thank you” or “I love you.” When she had forgotten nearly everything, family, past, home, my name, she sat in a chair each day and watched me work at writing words to eke out meaning and maybe beauty and I would turn to see her face become a smile only because I looked at her and then without a word she’d say, “Thank you” or “I love you.”
_Mel Livatino’s essays have appeared in_ The Sewanee Review, Writing on the Edge, River Teeth, Under the Sun _and other publications. Four of his pieces have been named Notable Essays of the Year in Robert Atwan’s_ Best American Essays _annual (2005, 2010, 2011, 2012). He is at work on two books:_ The Little Red Guide to Publishing Creative Nonfiction _and_ God: An Inquiry, _the latter about the existence and nature of God and evil. He lives in Evanston, Illinois._