Life As We Knew It, Day 6, Chapters 15-17

May 17, 2008 at 11:24 pm | Posted in Life As We Knew It | 6 Comments

Life As We Knew It
Day 6
Chapters 15-17

Chapter 15
Mom’s down again. Another ankle accident.
Increasing responsibility. Wood stove. Tending the fire.

Mrs. Nesbitt
What a hard (but necessary) conversation to have.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but there comes a time and point for every family to have this conversation. To know what your loved ones want.

And the fear of finding someone dead. Very real. I remember my mom was always terrified of finding my grandfather dead. He had cancer. And it was terminal. We all knew it was terminal.  And Mom would walk to check up on him every day and spend a few hours with him. But her big concern would be that she would be the one to find him. Of course, there came a point when she had to stay with him almost always full-time. She would spend a good portion of the day, and all night. She would only come back home to shower and to do laundry. She needed a bit of time to regroup. Around about this time, we got him to agree to hospice care. This was very very very very helpful. We really couldn’t have done this alone.

Other thoughts. Mrs. Nesbitt seems resigned to dying, resigned to her fate. She’s facing it bravely. She’s made up her mind. And this is just so authentic. My great-grandmother and my grandfather (within months of each other–July and October) both went through the same thing essentially. They’d decided they’d had enough. They’d decided they wanted to die. Wanted to go. Were tired of living. Both decided to stop eating. Both made their wishes very known.

“But I hope when I get closer to death, however old I might be, that I can face it with courage and good sense the way Mrs. Nesbitt does.” (234)

Boarding up of the windows. Discovering the well has gone dry.

Chapter 16

“Mrs. Nesbitt died.” (240)

We knew it was coming. But still. Finding joy in the small things. The discovery of food. Of water. Of baseball cards. Of taking solace in a good friendship.

November 25. After Thanksgiving dinner celebration. A feast of “one leg and two bites of thigh” off of a cornish hen.

November 26. New motivation to do schoolwork. To begin to do schoolwork.

“We tried to look shamefaced. Bad us for not doing algebra when the world is coming to an end.” (252)

Miranda picks history. Mom picks French. Jonny picks Algebra. Matt picks philosophy.

The chapter ends with a reminder that “Matt, Mom, and I [Miranda] are down to one meal a day, but at least we’re eating 7 days a week.” (255)

Chapter 17

Blizzard. Matt returns safe but there was a doubt there for a few pages. Realization that they’re all alone. That the blizzard (and any future snow) will keep them homebound for the duration.

Clearing the roof of snow. Doing yardwork–shoveling paths. Opening the garage. Getting out the cross-country skis.

Jonny realizes that he’s the only one eating much food. The rest eat once a day and not very much at that. He’s eating more often and more of it when he does eat. The family expects to die, and expects him to survive.

Reshuffling of eating schedule.

“It’s funny how sorry I feel for Jon these days. I’m 2 1/2 years older than him and I feel like got those 2 1/2 years to go to school and swim and have friends and he got cheated out of them. And maybe he’ll live 2 1/2 years longer than me, or 20 years or 50, but he’ll still never have those 2 1/2 years of normal life.

Every day when I go to sleep I think what a jerk I was to have felt sorry for myself the day before. My Wednesdays are worse than my Tuesdays, my Tuesdays way worse than my Tuesday of a week before. Which means every tomorrow is going to be worse than every today. Why feel sorry for myself today when tomorrow’s bound to be worse?

It’s a hell of a philosophy, but it’s all I’ve got.” (275)



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  1. Peter saying not worried about a broken toe – is this the same Peter? He must be seeing a lot of really bad stuff!

    Mrs Nesbitt’s conversation with Miranda about her death. Is Mrs. Nesbitt staying in her house because she wants to die or maybe because she doesn’t want Laura to find her in Laura’s house dead? I can’t imagine wanting a 16 year old to find me dead instead of her Mother. I would worry that my death would scar her for life.

    The plywood on the windows. I can imagine how Miranda feels her world getting smaller and smaller. I think I would be claustrophobic at this point. I would want some light and to see what the weather is doing. And then sleeping in the sunroom!
    I liked Mom’s speech that we are dying in increments and that she expects them to live as long as they possibly can (238). She still has hope that things will change. That is good because I think the kids are loosing their hope. I am loosing mine to, so I can see why they are!

    Oh Mrs. Nesbitt – why do you have to go! I think it’s interesting that there are “rules” for stripping the house – family first (246). There is so much lawlessness you would think that this wouldn’t matter. I too have had several family members who have choosen to die and have stopped eating. There is a little comfort in knowing that they are choosing, but also a little frustration too because I want them to live. And accepance knowing that if they did live it would not be the same.

    “I have no privacy. But I feel so alone (250).” I can understand how she is feeling.

    Again another drastic change in weather!

    Where is the government and all the really brilliant people in the US? Surley there is someone who has a plan for survival and comerece. Where is the food? I just can’t believe that things aren’t getting better.

    When Miranda realizes they are stuck at home because of the snow she says, “It’s a good thing we still like each other.”

    I am surprised that Peter isn’t checking in more – especially with Mom spraining her ankle so much. Now with the snow Peter can’t check in. But they could try to send him a letter. Surely someone going by the hospital when they are picking up their mail would drop it off.

    It is interesting that now Miranda is OK with only eating one meal and letting Jon have extra food (272). I wonder if that is a sign of her maturing. I am glad they are working on their school work now and am a little surprised that they didn’t do it sooner. You would think they would be suffering from major boredom and would do anything – I know that is what I would be doing…I would be so desperate I would read the dictionary!

    I also had thoughts about the I am a jerk quote and my days are worse than the one before
    on page 275. I can’t imagine living knowing tomorrow is going to be worse than today. I am surprised that they aren’t all suffering from major depression!

    After all the snow that they got and shoveling the house I think I am happy that I live in a condo and 3 sides of my “house” is protected from the outside! Plus since they are living in one room I feel like I have tons of space!! When normally I don’t think we have enough space.

    Do you think Lisa had the baby? I wonder how mail is getting out with no gas. I wonder if the Government kept some stored up gas for things like mail service. It would be better if they did since it’s the only way of communication. Even if they only transferred mail once a week or once a month it would be better than nothing!

    It’s ironic how small their world is. It is the 4 of them and sometimes Peter. We are living in a time where the world is so open. I work with computers and literally have people from India on teams who I talk with every day. They are in India and I am here! The world is so large, but Miranda’s world instantly got smaller and keeps getting smaller.

  2. Btw – I had to finish the book yesterday! 🙂 I just couldn’t put it down. An I returned it to the library and told the librarians that they all needed to read this book because it is Fabulous! 🙂 It is going on my Top 10 All Time Favorite list!

  3. I am so glad Darcie said “I just couldn’t put it down.” Because I finished so fast, I felt like Miranda with the chocolate chips.

  4. I finished it as well I just couldn’t stop! LOL at J. Kaye’s comment.

    I thought Mrs Nesbit’s death and her telling her wishes to Miranda before hand was really well done. It was very sad and also a little shocking how quickly they started talking about moving her stuff. I know it’s what she wanted and what they needed to do but I thought it really showed how everyday niceties had gone and it was all about survival now.
    The snow storm was really scary, I get claustrophobic at the best of times and this would have freaked me out completely.
    I felt really bad for Jon when he realised about the food, that must be an awful pressure to have to know your the one expected to survive.

  5. I love the book, it was sooooooooooooooo good

  6. this book is ahh-mazing. i love it:) its one of my top books the best part is when the meteor actually hits it was suprising to see everybodies reaction.i recommend this book for anybodyy and to all teacher!!

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