Each morning when mom gets up she asks, "are we still on lock down?" Sometimes she calls it "lock up" but the reference to being imprisoned is the same. 

I slip the vanilla flavored coffee pod into the Keurig, listen to the coffee maker slurp and gurgle, and anticipate her next question. Each morning pretty much starts the same. I get up first, mom soon follows. She asks me to put on the news. I start her coffee. The brown liquid streams into her favorite mug, the one that says "I'm a Dog Person" on it. A puff of steam rises. I think how I like the smell but not the taste of coffee. Mom always told me I should learn to drink a cup of coffee each morning. One day I finally asked her why the insistence on my having a morning cup of Joe. Turns out she was only interested in my being "regular". I add a packet of sweet 'n low and pour in enough vanilla creamer to turn the liquid the color of a tortilla. I bring the mug to her.

She takes a sip. "Delicious."  

Everything tastes delicious to mom. Lucky.

As I anticipate her next question, I wonder how much to tell her. She has always been straight up with me, and I've always tried to do the same with her. I remember when a friend asked to borrow a few hundred dollars from me. I had it, could afford to lend it to her, and my friend needed it more than I did. But I worried if lending money would ruin our friendship. I asked mom what to do. She said lend it to her, but have no expection of being paid back. Solid advice. 

Then there were the phone calls.

"Hi Mom," I'd say.

Without a hello back, mom would launch into a story, usually starting in the middle and typically about a mundane appearing event that brought her joy or tsuris. Something about a clerk at the Mac counter who remembered the shade of her favorite lipstick or how she had treated herself to a whopper with extra cheese after a hard day at work or a rant about crazy drivers on Pines Boulevard. 

She takes another sip of coffee and looks up at me. "Why am I here again?" 

Six people have died at her nursing home. Nineteen are sick. Mom and I know several of the people who have died or who are ill. One man in the hospital regularly ate dinner with mom and her friends. Mom had lunch with the man's wife, who is infected but not hospitalized, two days before she came to stay with me. We attend shabbat services with another woman who is hospitalized. I tell mom the truth. 

She sips her coffee and listens. A few moments later she says, "it's a terrible time."

"Yes, it is," I respond.

"I feel sad."

"So do I."

"I'm glad I'm here."

"Me too."

She adjusts the blanket over her lap. "We're fortunate to have each other. Is Blue Bloods on?"

I smile and change the channel to a marathon of her favorite TV show. She becomes transfixed. Lucky. 


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Joanne Lewis Blog




joanne lewis

When Joanne Lewis is not practicing law, she is writing. She pens murder mysteries, historical fiction and historical fantasy books and is the author of several award-winning novels. As an author, she hopes to entertain, to educate, and perhaps to enlighten. As an attorney, she is most proud of her work as an assistant state attorney and as a guardian ad litem representing the best interests of children.

Her books are available on Kindle, as paperbacks, and as audio books.

Her latest release is Bee King, a historical novel that is about the first person in the United States diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and takes place from the start of the Civil War until 1910. Just like the people who inhabited Five Points in lower Manhattan during the 1800s and the turn of the century, Bee King traverses the pentagonal streets where abolitionists battled copperheads, immigrants clashed among social, religious and political strife, and doctors and psychologists strained to help patients. Told in Five Points (sections), Bee King is dramatized through conventional literary devices as well as through newspaper articles, a manifesto, and other non-traditional tools.

The Forbidden trilogy consists of the novels: Forbidden Room, Forbidden Night, and Forbidden Horses. Forbidden Room is her best-selling novel.

In Forbidden Room, the first book in the Forbidden trilogy, new attorney Michael Tucker has few clients, yearns to be like his famous grandmother and cannot afford to move out of his parents' home. Sara Goldstein is an heiress accused of killing her uncle. When Sara hires Michael, he gets the chance to defend an innocent person, a beautiful lover and notoriety like his grandmother. But is it more than he asked for? Is Sara innocent or is she a murderer?

Forbidden Night, the second book in the Forbidden trilogy, delves further into Michael and Sara’s complicated relationship, as well as into Soldier Boy’s psyche, into their family histories, and into the creation of the carousel horses. The question posed in Forbidden Room, the first book of the Forbidden trilogy—Is Sara innocent or is she a murderer—is answered.

Forbidden Horses, the final book in the Forbidden trilogy, travels to the eighteenth century and takes place in Austria to reveal the troubled history of the creation of the carousel horses.

Michelangelo & Me is a series of five novellas in the genre of historical fantasy.

In the first book of the series, Michelangelo & the Morgue, seventeen-year-old Michelangelo defies religious and political powers in order to capture a serial killer who is murdering the artists of Florence. In Sleeping Cupid, the second book, Michelangelo’s believed-to-be lost statue narrates his journey from fifteenth century Florence, Italy until the present day where he lives in an attic in a sleepy Florida town. Future books in the anthology include Space Between, School of the World and Michelangelo & Me.

The Lantern is a historical novel about a modern-day woman's search to find a girl from 15th century Florence, Italy who dared to enter the competition to build the lantern on top of Brunelleschi's dome. Across time and space, three lives collide as they battle abuse, disease, fear and prejudice in pursuit of their dreams. Along the way, they intersect with some of the most famous figures of the Renaissance including members of the Medici, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello and a young Michelangelo.

Wicked Good, a different kind of love story, begins in Bangor, Maine. Fifteen-year-old Rory is not defined by his diagnoses of Asperger's syndrome and Bipolar Disorder and lives life to the fullest. Archer, his adoptive mother, is Rory's biggest fan. Rory searches for his birth parents to find out why he is the way he is. He discovers his roots in Salem, Massachusetts where the Salem Witch Trials had occurred, and in Gloucester, Massachusetts where fishermen went down with the Andrea Gail during the Perfect Storm. He also learns his true roots are closest to his home in Bangor. As Rory discovers truths about himself, Archer learns about herself too.

Make Your Own Luck is the unforgettable and moving novel of Remy Summer Woods, a young attorney who refuses to believe thirteen-year-old Bonita Pickney killed her father, Patrick Pickney. Remy risks her relationship with her own father as well as her life to prove Bonita's innocence. Along with learning what happened the night Patrick was murdered, Remy discovers hard truths about her family and herself.

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