Emily K. Abel is a professor of health services and women's studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is author ofHearts of Wisdom : American Women Caring for Kin, 1850-1940 and Suffering in the Land of Sunshine:A Los Angeles Illness Narrative.
Four months after our father's death, Jasmine Mehta, the Trinidadian Indian woman who had been his primary paid caregiver for six years, had the following dream: Our father was sitting in his wheelchair in a beautiful white suit looking very gentlemanly. He told her that they were going on a trip; he had packed his bag, and she should get hers ready. When they got to the airport, he looked confused and said, "I don't understand. Don't you have a husband and children to take care of?" When she acknowledged that she did, he said, "Well, then, you're not going with me." So she returned home alone.