Here is Rob McRay’s understory from August 2020’s Zoom event “Gone.”

Tonight, Nashville, they were gone…and we were gone.

Dad took us from the L.A. beaches to the New Mexico mountains, where bears seemed to outnumber people. But after watching bears by the headlights and riding with the truck driver to the diner, we came to love small town life in the clouds.

Our father’s journey took him from the bedroom to church to the institution. We were frightened by the fervor of faith, but Dad was drawn to the control through fear. We returned from down under, but our father never returned.

In the golden light, Tom told us, “Right now, this is as good as it will ever get.” Now, after the Alps and race cars and 35 years of a better life. We are grateful for that moment of clarity.

We could not stop the dissection to determine the cause of death of dying dementia patient. Her self-inflicted wound, and endless infections, and long life led to the words, “No more.” But the dash of her life would not be gone.

Chessie could spell and gave generous gifts of undead snakes and rodent innards. She went to cat heaven and mouse hell…and we heard loss in the shape of a sound. But to the end, she was proud she was not a dog.

It was a different kind of being the only one. But she was the lifesaver who saw us. We found a family of validation, and then grew slightly away. She went to the Waffle House…and was gone. And now everything is colored red.

Good night, Nashville.


Thanks to all our storytellers—Ty, Kayla, Bill, Pam, Sam, and Melissa! Join us for our 7-year anniversary on September 28, for our regular anniversary theme of “Nashville.” Submit your story idea here!

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