Friday, May 11, 2012

Loss is sound without word

Am I Blue? (Self Portrait, 2008.)

It's always later, well past beginning with grief--as if the topography has been changed and you have not been notified.

The familiar, less so.
The sounds from beyond the open window, a hallow tin.

May 11 is a difficult date and by extension, often a difficult day. 12 years ago my mom died. There is simply no way to soften that truth.

Loss is sound without word.

It's me driving unsure of how I have arrived at a place I don't recognize, for an interview I don't want and passing through it as if the room was a sea. The tiny table where we sit so beautifully round, like a geometric proof I can't quite solve. There are always limits and I hear myself uttering poorly what is expected to be said and I think even I don't believe me. 

And later on the drive home I'm stuck in traffic for thirty minutes knowing that the slowdown is a road repair with one lane access.  And I am oddly content to sit in the familiar where utterances and decisions aren't required.

When my mom died, a friend told me that the pain would subside and would resurface.  Too true, for grief is never a matter of subtraction, of balance. The tally of years means nothing.

When I get home, I do the laundry, placing each item from the washer to the drier--just so--as if concentration on the ordinary will resettle my breath, produce a badge that says, "I'm competent."

Later I read a bit from John McPhee about plate tectonics: "In the middle Mesozoic, as the Atlantic opens, the North American lithosphere, like a great rug, begins to slide west, abutting, for the most part, the Pacific Plate. A rug sliding across a room will crumple up against the far wall" (p.384).

On days like this I take slight solace in having been told that even the poles wander.  Nothing living holds still, even mythological centers, even grief. Sometime next week I will have tucked this grief up like a little ball so very very small that the unsettled balance I carry will hardly show.


  1. beautiful... 'the thickening of life'?

    1. Yes, Mary it is the thickening of life.

  2. Replies
    1. Out of need comes good things at times. Thanks.

  3. I am so sorry I am behind on reading your blog and missed this one. From all you've said, your mother was a remarkable woman. Sounds like she continues at your side.

    1. Yes, I imagine she is. I hadn't looked at this again until now. Thanks for that.