Friday, August 13, 2010

Two oddities

If i have any literary ability or culture at all, it's due to my mom. She took me to plays and musicals, locally, and in New York and London. We rifled old bookstores and junk shops together. She introduced me to Brookgreen Gardens when I was 11 years old. I haven't been able to go to Brookgreen in the last couple weeks, though it's usually my favorite de-stress place, but things are progressing and I'll get back there soon.

She also took me to The Big Library: the downtown Charlotte Main Branch library. Going "downtown" was an expedition and a special treat. One subject among many that I got into while browsing the Big Library was English history. I was the usual romantic teenaged girl -- I read all the library's books about the abdication of Edward VIII, which fascinated me even as it became quickly clear that romance was the least important part of that story.

One book that they had on the subject was this rather vitriolic thing called Gone with the Windsors. The author, who had spent his journalistic career writing food and hospitality books until then, was so outraged by the Duke of Windsor's sentimental and sometimes self-contradictory autobiography, A King's Story, that he felt compelled to write his own book about the events of 1936, in which he took the couple apart piece by piece. Some justified criticism and some serious over-the-top snark.

Awhile back, someone offered the book, now a library discard, on eBay. She's a Charlotte seller who gets a lot of the library's discards, and I'm pretty sure it's the same copy I checked out when I was about 14, since it came from the main library, not a branch, and they only had one copy.

It's one of the thousand things I've thought about in the last two weeks. "Mom would get a kick out of knowing that I now own the same copy! I never thought to tell her! Now I can't."

I can't tell her things anymore. This will keep happening a lot for awhile, and on occasion for the rest of my life.

Meanwhile, last week Dad asked Larry and me to walk around the yard and make notes of things that needed to be done to the landscaping. I pulled a pad of paper out of my mass of junk on my desk shelf, and this photo fell out.

Mom and my dear dog Sparky, around (?) 1971.

They both live on in my heart, but that doesn't cut it for me. Whatever comes next, we apparently are on a Need To Know basis about, and the Higher Power doesn't seem to think that we Need to Know, so all I can do is hope that the photo tumbling out for me was a little message that she's there with loved ones, and with all her favorite animals, and that she's as delighted and joyful as she looks in this picture.


Catherine said...

"I can't tell her things anymore." This is the aspect of my mother's death that continues to trip me up and trigger sessions of grief (mild or otherwise). I so want to be able to talk to her. I want to show her Abbi's wedding dress and tell her about the plans, I want her to visit the new house we are buying, I want to ask questions about her parents and grandparents. And on and on and on. The time that must pass before I see her again in Eternity seems like an eternity here on earth to me.

Death is hardest on those left behind. My thoughts and prayers are always with you, dear friend.

Mike said...

Ditto. For years after my father's death, I kept coming up with things I'd like to show him, or ask him. Most were small, inconsequential bits of nothing -- but they would have turned into good conversations. I still have moments of that, but I've learned to hear his voice internally, to share by remembering the conversations we did have, so that, when I think of something, I realize that, yes, I know he'd be pleased or curious or amused or outraged. And I recall the times he was, and smile at the memories.

It takes awhile to get there.