Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sixty Years

Today was my mother's birthday, and three weeks from now will be the 60th anniversary of her death. She died suddenly, from chlorinated hydrocarbon fumes inhaled while cleaning a rug the night before, three weeks after her 38th birthday.

Sixty years. Not just 60 years of time passed, but those 60 years mean that I am eons beyond the 9-year-old who lost her mother. And yet . . .

I read for an hour in bed tonight. The book was Crow Lake, by Mary Lawson, who writes about Canada. She's a good writer. In this book the narrator was 7 years old when her parents were killed in an accident. I read through that part, disturbing and certainly not pleasant but manageable—even when she tells how the little girl didn't believe her parents were really dead, and I remembered the very same disbelief, and the terrible realization in the funeral home that I'd been wrong.

But then the writer spoke of pictures of children who have experienced trauma, and the blankness of their eyes, and I remembered that blankness too—remembered feeling it within—and I put down the book, unable to read anymore.

And that explains why I was downstairs an hour after midnight, cleaning the bathroom and then leaning for a while against the front door, staring out at the rain.

10 comments:

Helen said...

Oh, Susan, hugs to you...

Susan said...

Thank you, Helen. Everything always seems better the next day....

crystal said...

Sorry, Susan. As Helen wrote, hugs.

Indigo Bunting said...

This one made me cry.

But what a beautiful piece.

Eulalia (Lali) Benejam Cobb said...

Having seen so many pictures of your mother on FB, I almost feel that I know her...So sad that she died so young, and that you had to grow up without her.

Susan said...

Thanks, Crystal, IB, and Lali. It makes me so happy to share pictures of my mother and the rest of my family on FB, and to know that so many of my friends enjoy them. I keep thinking about starting a blog of my dad's photos. I suppose I should Just Do It....

Bridgett said...

I turned 38 today. I know, it's not about me. But sometimes I read your blog and it hurts so much to. But I love it.

Susan said...

I remember how strange it felt to be older than my mother ever was. But this is something many experience; it just happened to me sooner than most.

I hope you had a wonderful day, Bridgett. And I promise to write something cheerful soon. :-)

waxwing said...

Everyone else had better comments than I could have written. And your posts do often make me cry -- but I love them anyway.

Susan said...

Waxwing! I haven't seen you in a long time. And you haven't seen me at your blog(s). I need/want to connect more with all of my friends' blogs. Meanwhile, thank goodness for Facebook.