Monday, April 19, 2010
In the days after the earthquake in Haiti, I remember listening to NPR (yes I do get my news, sometimes, from the leftist devil itself) and a geologist, or some other such earth-science person, commented that while it would not be physically detected, the math wizards who endeavor to understand such things, believed that the magnitude of the quake had actually altered our axis. Minutely. Minisculely. Yet, there it was. The earth was now moving ever so differently than it had mere moments before. I totally got it. Because I too have had my axis altered. When death came for my mother, it was as if someone stuck a pin on my timeline. To the left of the pin, mothered. To the right of the pin, motherless. Tilt. It literally felt like I was walking cockeyed, or that I had entered a Magritte or Dali painting where the individual pieces make sense, but put together seem imcomprehensible. The Magritte where the smartly suited man has on a bowler hat and his face is a green apple. I felt as though when I looked in the mirror, yes of course there should be a green apple where my face was, afterall, my mom was gone. Things that had once been illogical I could now nod my head in agreement with. Grief is so intensely personal. It never fully leaves you, rather, seems to linger in an ebb/flow pattern. Sometimes your far enough up on shore that the waves hardly touch you. Others, you are wading in and the tide threatens to overcome you, the sorrow pulling you out to sea. The tide of sadness comes in washing up memories, like shells, some whole and beautiful, others cracked or only pieces. Eventually it turns, and goes back out, taking with it the sharpness and detail of remembrance. Time softens these memories, removes the clarity of her voice, the image of her face, the touch of her hands. This brings its own measure of grief, the sense of forgetting. Yet, my life is a testament to hers. Not only my literal life, which would not be without her own, but the simple fact that there was a measure of time before the pin, and there is now a life beyond it. Tilt.