Remember how the hurricanes sort of growled in the movie? And you thought “sounds cool, but utter bullshit.” Well, we’ve got a tornado warning and the thunder really does sound like that. Like it is hungry and angry and spoiling for a fight.
The house has no basement, but who is counting?
I wonder what it will do to my sleep. Last night, I woke up in the middle of a nightmare. I’d lost something and I was looking for it with a boy from Bosnia that I met in Scotland back in 1999. We went into a barn with a bunch of cars – old cars – and we were looking through the trunks. I walked through a ghost. He convinced me to hug him and when we went back outside, everything was strange. Like time happened at a different pace inside the barn and outside everything had moved on without us.
Lost is a funny word. I could say “I lost my mom,” which is true in a couple of ways. Obviously the idiomatic applies, but so does the literal. I have no idea where her body is. Awaiting the paperwork somewhere. Because you can’t go cremating someone all willy-nilly. The first 48 hours are just to be sure they don’t wake up or something. But then there are signatures to collect. They ask you whether your mother has any body parts you want returned. The lady had to explain that one to me… apparently you can get the titanium hip back, assuming your loved one had one.
Cremation costs more depending on the size of the person involved. She was little. 5’2″ and shrinking. No more than 135 lbs and probably not even that. That part won’t be a problem.
There is nothing precious about the body. She shed it like a hermit crab’s outgrown shell and scuttled off to more expansive environs. She was of carbon, she is carbon, and she’s returning to carbon. Matter is not created or destroyed, just altered. I don’t think it bothers me that I don’t know where she is. She’s got her traveling pants. She has my favorite hoodie. I’ve lost track of her body, I don’t know exactly where *she* is either.
Maybe we’re temporary. Maybe she’s nothing now. But if I’m going to commit to a perspective, I don’t think that’s the one I’m going with.
So yes, I lost my mother. People say nice things to us that are supposed to be comforting. Our condolences. So sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you. Our thoughts are with you. The most touching of these is my atheist friend who went to light a candle for me in the local cathedral. I just don’t know what to say. I want to reassure people that we’re okay. It’s hard to be sad that she’s gone, when here was so brutal. If we could pick between gone and what it was when she was well, then we’d pick well. Not the choice we got. Of the choices we were given – gone or in a great deal of emotional and physical distress – we pick gone. We wished for it to be easy on her and, within the constraints, we got our wish. She died with what retrospect will call brutal efficiency. Watching the minutes go by at a deathbed doesn’t feel efficient, but I’m still too close to it.
Christmas music feels weird, but Gordon Lightfoot doesn’t. ‘Circle of Steel’ somehow is about the right pace of seasonal for me. Greensleeves doesn’t push any buttons. I’m not sure I’ll be able to hear ‘O Christmas Tree’ again without smelling antiseptic.
Meanwhile, I think I’m getting sick. The nephews might be snuggling specialists, but they are vectors for all varieties of snotty ailments as well.