Saturday, May 23, 2009
Back in New York tonight. A little melancholy, a lot worn out, but relieved, as if a whole group of us had passed a test. I mean all the clumsiness of private grief bumping up against public ritual. Somehow, to our surprise, yesterday's funeral mass ended up taking on a life of its own. I read a piece I'd written about my mother; one of her nurses, a sweet Jamaican woman named Susie, told stories. And though the priest hadn't known my mother personally, he knew enough about her to make it feel as if he did. And neither "Be Not Afraid" nor "On Eagles' Wings" ever issued from the cantor's lips!
Afterward a group of us gathered at Sea Watch, a restaurant on the beach. Outside, rain battened down the sea grapes. The lights went on inside; thunder rolled. I liked sitting next to my Aunt Catherine, my father's sister, whom I hadn't seen since the 90s. Across the table Mark and Jordan, my nine-year old niece, studied the screen of Mark's IPhone, watching a video of a deep sea fish with a transparent head.
I had one too many glasses of red wine for the middle of the day.
Later, over at the condo, my brother Michael handed me a bar of special soap that my mother had been saving since--the 60s? Knowing her, I'm sure she thought it was too good to use, and the longer she held onto it, the harder it was to take off its wrapper. We couldn't help but laugh, a little sadly, that that dumb bar of soap could still be around in the world.