An amazing collection of essays by writers who cared for family members during illness. Helen Schulman -- My father the garbage head. A woman whose father deteriorates slowly >20 yrsSam Lipsyte -- The gift. A young man, former junkie, caring for his mother dying of cancer. "I don't remember all the bus rides, the cab rides, the hospital visits, the home chores and duties. Sometimes it all looms symbolically in my mind as a mighty ziggurat of Ensure cans. "We watched a lot of television. We could have been reading each other poetry, I guess, or at least classic novels, but we filled our heads with garbage. Maybe the stink of garbage warded off the stink of death. Or maybe we were just pretty tired."My other husband -- Anne Harleman. A woman chronicles the demise of her husband to MS -- remembering him as he was before stricken. Eventually she puts him in a nursing home, where he survives for yrs well, after the initial adjustment, & she learns to live again. Not being the caretaker frees her up. The sick often resent the caretaker.Elliott -- Jerome Groopman. Elliott is his friend / alter-ego who lives in Israel. W t-cell lymphoma, E comes 1st to Boston, then to CA for treatment. G encourages him, but has doubts himself. After fighting the initial cancer, E is stricken w treatment induced leukemia -- & doesn't want to go on. But G again encourages him. Amazing.Caring across borders. Julia Alvarez. At 75 and 86, Alvarez's parents decide to move back to the DR, while their 4 daughters live in the US. Her father becomes ill, and Alvarez explores the family and cultural dynamics as her sisters and she try to support her aging parents in another country.Called them vitamins -- Stephen Yadzinksi. A boy's parents divorce. After a yr of living in GA w his mom, Stephen & his brother plead to return to Buffalo to live w their dad. He has a progressive disease (not MS but like it?)& Stephen progressively becomes the main caretaker after his brother lives for college. This is very difficult for him & his dad.Ruth -- Justine Picardie. Ruth is Picardie's sister, dying of breast cancer in her 30's. This is an excerpt from If the Spirit Moves You. "I cared for my sister. She cared for me. In the end, it all comes down to this."Notes on accepting care. Andrew Solomon. The writer suffers from depression, learns how to accept care from his dad. They have always had a difficult relationship, & his mom dying of cancer puts them into this situation.The baby. Anne Landsman. A woman's father is dying in South Africa while she, the youngest of 3 professional siblings living in America, is about to have 1st 1 & then a 2nd child. Because of the timing of the pregnancies & the illnesses, she cannot always go to So. Africa to be with the family.Death in Slow Motion. Eleanor Cooney. A really terrifying tale of a woman who moves her mom w Alzheimers from her CT roots to CA & the relentless & mind-numbing care that she needs.Mourning in Altaic. Ed Bok Lee. A young Korean man tries to help his father dying of cancer.Don't worry, it's not an emergency. Susan Lehman. A woman cares for her dying mother while raising small children.In the land of little girls. Ann Hood.The vital role. Amanda Fortini. A weird caretaking relationship.Planet Autism. Scot Sea. Truly terrifying essay.The day the world split open. Abigail Thomas. A woman's husband is hit by a car in NYC & the world changes.The elephant in the room. Stan Mack. A cartoonist husband chronicles the last months of his wife's life, who died of breast cancer. They lived in NYC. Difficulties of navigating health care & insurance. Touching.Transformed by a touch. Kerrel McKay. A young girl watches her dad dying of cancer in Jamaica before the disease was well understood.The animal game; or how I learned to take care of myself by letting others care for me. By Julia Glass.