Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Grandma Mimi

I remember walking into the dining room with some toy in hand and seeing my mother sitting alone at the dining table, head bowed between her hands. I can't remember if she was crying, but I knew that she was upset. I circumnavigated the table and sat on the floor next to her chair. I began to absently play with my toy, hoping that she would comfort me. I don't know why I thought the upset one should be the one to comfort the content one. Perhaps I empathized with her emotion. Or perhaps I was just too inexperienced with the comforting process to realize that it could be transmitted both ways, from parent to child and from child to parent. Nevertheless, I knew something was wrong and I did not want to leave until it was resolved.

"What's wrong?" I looked up and asked my mother.

She didn't look at me. I remember she took a long pause (or what seems like a long pause to a four-year-old) before answering, "My mother is dead." I didn't know what that meant.

I only remember the funeral and the reception in (probably inaccurate) snippets. I don't remember whether the event with my mother in the dining room took place before or after it, though. I do remember wearing a suit or at least a tie. I remember staring at a mounted deer head. I remember a lot of adults talking to each other, and no one paying attention to me. I remember asking to look inside the casket several times, each time being told "no."

For some reason, I don't ever remember being sad.

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