My family used to make a joking comparison to an early 2000s department store TV commercial. Two kids (my brother and me) are dragging their mom (our mom) out of a store advertising sale after sale after sale. “But the sales!” the mom character protests, with one arm in each child’s grip. My mom, a suburban homemaker, would spend many mall-bound afternoons or evenings buckling us into the minivan. At the register, the swipe of a credit card was her source of power. The mall was where my mom could people-watch, survey choices, and claim a pair of earrings as a sense of self. My mom is now one of hundreds of thousands of Americans who do not leave home. She was diagnosed in her early 40s with multiple sclerosis. As of last year, she doesn’t speak or eat. Dressing her in a soft cotton dress, slit down the back for ease, is a one- or two-person task. Her closet is full of chain belts and clutches and sandals that feel like relics, not only of department store shopping but of her ability to be seen. Read more at Racked.