Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Halfway to Far Enough

The bouquets are drooping, the edges of the flowers and leaves browning. Mom is humming hymns as she stirs hamburger in the skillet, echoes of my childhood harmonizing with the sizzle. The familiar ritual of meal preparation is necessary once again as we finished the last of the leftovers from the flood of delivered meals by Saturday (the 8th). The phone remains silent for long hours at a stretch now. I am sleeping again. Long, dream saturated sleep. After nearly three weeks of sporadic sleep with several 48 plus hour stints of no sleep at all, my body and mind are greedy for sleep and slurp it like a small child with a Popsicle on a summer afternoon.

In the last week I have gone several times with Mom on her daily walk around the block. The blocks here are not square city blocks but curvy lanes ending in cul-de-sacs. So ‘around the block’ is not quite correct either. It would be well over a mile to make a full circuit so we turn back and retrace our steps after one of us judges we are half way to far enough.

What a sight we must make--two women wielding white canes but gesturing hither and yon at this flowering bush and that leaf-turned tree. Mom warns me several yards in advance of every root-raised sidewalk slabs, every curb, every fire-hydrant and every twig that hangs down below forehead level over the sidewalk. Her RP has advanced much further than mine but tho she sees much less, she has nearly three decades more familiarity with this neighborhood than I do.

Mom spoke of Dad in the present tense three times yesterday. But I did not call her on it as I know she is neither delusional nor in denial. It is just the grooves that language wears in your mind, mapping experience. Repetition of new experience will redraw the map--in time. Grief is much like a walk in unfamiliar terrain. You put one foot in front of the other, advancing through the minutes, the hours, the days. Routines reassert themselves but they are like old maps superimposed over new territory, giving only an illusion of ’normal’ as your steps take you past missing landmarks or stumbling over unmarked obstacles. And no matter how many steps you take, you are always one step short of halfway to far enough.

0 tell me a story:

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