Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Yes, I see we're moving on
Maybe trouble's all we'll find
But compared to what's behind
This is easy...
--Marshall Crenshaw

My sister Ann and I got together for lunch yesterday. It didn't take long for the conversation to turn to memories of Mom.

Specifically, how Mom dealt with the deaths of people around her. When dad died, he'd been so ill for so long, it was most likely a relief. She told me once she'd accepted that she had long before accepted that her husband no longer existed, she had become a caretaker, not a wife. So when he passed, there was sadness, yes, but it was easy to move on.

But when my brother Keith was killed in 2002, it was different. It was sudden, out of nowhere. Keith was her first born child, and they were as close as that suggests. Yet Mom seemed to accept it, seemed almost to expect it. "When you reach a certain time in life, nothing surprises you anymore," she said. "It's not that it isn't sad, you just know thngs like that are going to happen sooner or later."

Is that what I'm going through? Have I reached "a certain time in life?" Because this whole thing is a lot easier for me than it should be. I'm more likely to go on a crying jag thinking of my late, lamented cats Pinback or Scotchie than from thinking of Mom. And it's not that I don't think of her.

Ann mentioned a weird moment when her phone rang the other day at the same time of evening when Mom would always call, and how, for just a moment, she thought it was Mom calling. Well, I had experiences like that, too, but only in the immediate wake of her death, for maybe a week or two. After that, no, she was gone and I knew it. And, stranger still, accepted it.

Or is it just that I've accepted that, as she put it, things like this happen? It might be freeing to think so. It would be hard to imagine a personal loss more devastating, but it's happened and I'm still here. If a person like me, prone to depression and occasional bursts of suicidal behavior, can get through this, the rest of my life should be easy.