from the Old French essai, an attempt,
from the Latin exagium, a weighing
Cynthia Ozick, an American essayist, describes the act of writing an essay as “walking around a thought.” The words of my husband are the thoughts around which I walk. Over the seventeen years of his dementia, Dick spoke or wrote the words that entitle all of my essays. His observations, neologisms, notes, jokes, songs, and anguished cries appear within the essays, as well.
As I worked my way through the essays, I realized that not only are they written about my husband, they’re also written to him. As such, they resemble a literary apostrophe, a passage in a poem or play in which the speaker addresses someone who isn’t present. I’m addressing my late husband.