Walter Kirn in his blog:
All the kids now tell their friends “I love you.” Girls my daughter's age, 12, all say “I love you.” And so, sometimes, do boys my son's age, 10. They say it when they part ways after school. They write it in e-mails, in text messages, on Facebook. “I love you.” They even say it to their parents. “I love you,” they say, and then head off to the movies. “I love you,” they say, and then climb on the team bus. It's not something I did at their age, all those years ago, saying and writing “I love you” all the time, and it's not something that the other kids did, either, particularly not outside the home, the family, where love, as we then defined it, didn't exist. Outside the family, people 'liked' each other. Now they love each other. And they say so. Sincerely. With feeling. I've heard it. Authentic feeling. You can think it's a fad, but I've heard it: it's said with feeling.
Three weeks and three days ago my mother died unexpectedly at 71. She was in Iowa, visiting her boyfriend, which she did every year when the state fair was going. One morning he found her on the bathroom floor. She couldn't speak. Her eyes were open, but barely. An ambulance came and drove her to the hospital, to Iowa Methodist in downtown Des Moines (a city that is beige across the board and has terrible traffic at certain peculiar moments but then seems to empty out entirely), where someone ran a CAT scan and discovered a 'sizable mass' in her brain, behind her eyes. A surgeon went in and found an abscess there, 'encapsulated,' sealed off from other tissue, and immediately he drained it of built-up fluid and then bathed the area in antibiotics. The fluid, infected with something, was sent for tests. Hours passed. Night came. My mother remained unconscious, breathing with noisy mechanical assistance. A nurse said she saw her blink when spoken to sometime between four and five a.m. and rated her coma an optimistic '11' on a scale — an official coma scale — that runs to 15, for some reason, and starts at 3.
I got there a few hours later from Montana, fighting with my girlfriend the whole way.