The days are beginning to resemble a patchwork quilt, stitched together loosely here and tightly there. There are bright days and dark days, tears that begin in sorrow and end in laughter and the shake of a head. Words meant to be innocuous that cut like a knife, things said that may have hidden innuendo but are so frightening that would have normally evoked curiosity but now make me want to turn and run. All these things probably have been for some time, I just never really noticed.
I feel like my abilities to notice have shifted. Death has become a great fixed lens through which I view life. It makes things that used to be important seem comical and things that I previously ignored sacred.
I have a patchwork quilt that my mother’s mother made. I have stretched out on my bed as youth many times and made a game of finding the different fabric designs. On one square there is a cartoonish sailor in a red tie holding a fishing pole; its line dangled over a small round fish bowl with one lone fish in it. I know he occurs in part on other squares but there is only one on which you see most of him and his activity.
I am finding that is how my memory behaves. I remember snatches of things here and there, and only now and then is there a complete scene. We have had the great fortune of talking with some our son’s friends and they add to the quilt with anecdotes that fill in some of the blank spaces. His sister also adds to this endeavor with memories distinctly from her point of view. What is really nice is that because she was also present for some of the events I remember where she can give it a different slant.
The voice missing is that of our son, whose view was often radically different from anyone around him, and perhaps on purpose. Perhaps he really did hold a similar view to those in the discussion, but because of his need to provide a point around which to argue he tossed it out at just the right moment. The argument I speak of here is not the one that comes to mind regarding a dispute, but rather more closely a debate an exercise in reasoning and persuasion. This came from his studies as a philosopher and could prove maddening to me and others who just wanted to simply vent about something or talk fluff and nonsense.
Even as I write this I find my needle has dropped the thread and my mind is wandering off. I desire to create something tangible to make some sort of sense from what has happened. I want to wrap up securely some of the things that seem most precious concerning my son, but there is nothing big enough.
I think the quilt is going to be a mess. I am too close to it to see any pattern at all.
I cry a little or a lot every day so there are tear stains everywhere. I make no apologies for that. Sometimes I look like the man in Edvard Munch‘s painting “The Scream” , which I can attest is sometimes a silent scream though all-the-while gut wrenching.
I am not easily distracted from the running narrative that is being spoken all my waking hours in my head about my son, my daughter, my family. It is uncomfortable at times and so I am working on distractions. They don’t last long though I appreciate the keyboard’s willing acceptance to receive my words and let me release them now and then.
Here is one last square that I will record for the day and then be done until I the obsession hits again. When my son started school, a skinny tow-headed imp, the attitude that he would embody all his short life was already evident. He had come to the breakfast table having dressed himself and combed his own hair.
“May I comb your hair for you?” I asked.
“No” he said, diving into his bowl of cereal.
“The part is awfully crooked,” I said.
“Oh mom,” he looked at me audaciously ” that is the San Andreas Part.”
I think we are at the San Andreas part of life. I don’t think all my stitches and patches can bridge the gap, and it will be a project I will have to work on the rest of my life.
Just gotta say it, like I do so many times during the day. Sweetheart I miss you so much.