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Sebastian Bonner

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About Living in Twilight


There's something reassuring about this banal fact: everyone dies. No matter who you are, where you come from, each life will end the same way: definitively.

The similarities end there: everything in between the starting gate and the finish line is up for endless revision and adaptation: beauty, horror, ugliness, fear, sublimity, ecstasy. Happiness, contentment, miserliness. Creation and destruction, or just mild entropy. 

Our lives are an evolving production for the next stage, whatever it might be. But few people discussed in the course of my life how to help someone else through the wilderness of dying. My brother and I assumed that Dad would be the only human to defy the odds: Dad was going to outlive all of us in some remarkable stasis. Not immortal, certainly, but perhaps just suspended

He didn't. 

I began Living in Twilight when Dad came down with the crud—which turned out to be not-quite end-stage prostate cancer—penning essays that tracked his dying as it unfolded, with no small amount of irony and gallow's wit. Then I picked through the detritus his death left behind, both emotional and physical, as my brother and I tried to make sense of the senseless.

Living in Twilight is about our family figuring out how to go about this business, since nobody else bothered to tell us, and then scrambling back into the harsh daylight after Dad's short dusk.

The Quiet Light

I sat by my father’s bed.

If there was one place in the house I was often sitting, it was there, next to him. Holding his hand, reading to him, listening to him reminisce about how still, after all these years, he hated his mother, or that he loved his grandmother, or that the light was fading.

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