December 21, 2013

Still

Today is the shortest day of the year, but for me it is the longest.

I’ve been awake, off and on since midnight riding a wave of memories. Most of mine can be shared with only a handful of people, it’s the theft of age and death has been with me since childhood.

The one that haunts my Solstice is my mother’s. To tell you who she was would take pages, and really all that’s important is that she was vibrant, generous, fierce and force before whom politicians trembled, and we loved her.

On December 21, 2005 the phone rang at just before noon- she was dead. Heart attack. A heart attack after four years of a barely living hell, caused by a massive stroke suffered on the operating table as one and then two surgeons attempted to correct one and then a second aneurysm. I had dropped everything to spend five months with her in rehab- hoping to get her to the point where she could return to her own home. Those five months were torture for us both. She went home. Round the clock care was hired. Organizing a large public funeral was already done- we’d laid out most of the plans together. She was an organizer. It was the only thing left to her in those last years. The funeral was on Boxing Day. Christmas is hard. Her death was a relief, but still…

This is the shortest day. Good.

asta

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