The Day My Mother Died …

I dunno.  Maybe I shouldn’t be posting this, but then, how will you ever know, if you don’t, right?

Aristophanes has gone on a biting binge.  He just loves to gnaw hands — my hands!  And when he gets into one of those moods, he is, quite frankly, obnoxious.  I am going to call an animal behaviorist and get some advice from her on how to break this habit.  I have no idea why he does this, but it makes him feel secure somehow.  It’s like he’s bonding, or something.  Maybe that’s his way of telling me he loves me!  But I doubt it.  It’s more like a bad habit, which is hard to break.

The Day My Mother Died …

So life hasn’t been so great since then and you’ve made several suicide attempts — serious ones! — but they all failed.  It just wasn’t your time to go.  That’s the conclusion she ultimately reached.  But her mother gnawed at her spirit, the immense loss it suffered, when she died.  What could it be like to be a 16 year old, just becoming a woman, while at the same time her mother is dying of diseases that ravaged those very organs, the reproductive ones?

My mother died at the end of March of 1970.  Can’t remember whether it was the 29th, 30th or 31st.  I just know we buried her on April Fool’s and we had an uncanny snowstorm system move through the region that dumped about 2 feet of snow.  I remember attending her wake, and feeling terribly awkward.  A group of high school friends had come with Mrs. C and we had huddled in a circle and they comforted me.  One of the girls, Sherry would herself be dead within 2 years.  Smart, sweet as pie, endowed with many gifts, Sherry would die of carbon monoxide poisoning at 18 while in for a weekend from school in southern Illinois.

Mrs. C, my alcoholic English teacher flunked me for my poor class performance, but secretly fed me Coca-Cola’s in the faculty lounge, which I would drink while crying, she became my spiritual support.  Whatever was happening to me emotionally, Mrs. C was there to absorb it.  She is one person I wish I could see again, but I highly doubt that she is alive in this year.  I loved her.  The kindest human spirit — my first encounter, perhaps.  I cried.  And I cried.

And she just sat there giving me nourishment and saying without saying anything, “I understand, honey.  I know what you’re going through.”  Now there’s a teacher worth the weight of many others.  Few like her around.

(Aristophanes is now asleep, behind me.)