I love vegan chik’n. It’s just like animal chicken except that apostrophe means it’s full of compassionate deliciousness, minus the gaggy slippery veins. I’ve been veg for more than a quarter of a century now and can assure you it has had no effect whatsoever on my now elderly mother.

This would shock you more if you knew she regularly says things to me, her only child, like, “You are my world; You are my everything; You are my reason for being.”

On one hand, she means it. On the other, if I said I’d never speak to her again unless she went vegan, she’d be sad to see me go. I could walk away in my sustainable LØCI sneakers and never look back, except A) I love that woman, and B) she totally relies on me.

Mom’s two strokes have left her completely disabled. Her former fondness for fruits and veggies gave way to a craving for fast food, and her short-term memory, coordination, and muscle strength melted faster than cashew cheese. Thank God she can still drive! Just kidding, of course. Driving, amongst other things, is where I come in.

At least half a dozen times a week, there I am, in the drive through at Taco Bell, Burger King, Chick Fil-A, ordering the mutilated bodies of the types of animals I like to see playing freely when I visit rescue sanctuaries or scroll through The Dodo. To say it’s difficult for me is like saying advanced algebra is difficult for amoebas (#NoOffenceToAmoebas). And then there’s my license plate, which clearly reads: VEGAN. The feeling of the drivers behind me pulling out their cell phones and posting videos of this so-called-VEGAN yell-ordering supremely crunchy beef tacos, not Impossible Whoppers, and chicken-no-apostrophe sandwiches is as palpable as it is painful. What a hypocrite, they say. Probably.

So what am I supposed to do? Refuse to procure the only types of foods my ever-shrinking mother will eat? I tried that. And guess what? She didn’t take the chik’n-laden bait.

Also, P.S., I specialized in grief & bereavement post grad-school and believe that honoring the wishes of disabled and dying people is sacred.

Yet I also believe that killing animals for food is morally reprehensible, especially in these beyond impossibly modern times. Two deeply held, completely antipodal beliefs. I think even non-vegans would agree it’s quite a pickle!

I could refuse to feed my mom the food she likes and be taken into custody by Adult Protective Services, or I could continue to put Mom first and bring her one of the few pleasures she has left in life—animal-based food—despite the fact that doing so makes my soul feel sick, all while enjoying the virtual slings and arrows of those judgy mcjudgersons behind me in line at the drive through.

Either way, I’m fk’d. Or, more accurately, forget the apostrophe.


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