Friday, February 18, 2011

Contemplating Love and Loss: Or why Amelia Earhart . . .

The last year has been pretty darn blue. The beginning was consumed with watching my mother get thinner and thinner until she seemed to waste away. When she died it was hardly unexpected. What was shocking was how long she stayed alive, wishing for death, what was unexpected from such a practical woman was how terrified she was of dying. The same person who liked to breezily discuss the Hemlock Society and talk about cremation was hardly sanguine when it came time for it to be her turn. Not that I think I'll be any different, but then again, I don't pretend to be sanguine about dying at all. I prefer life, thank you very much. And undoubtedly will go out kicking and screaming.

Ever onwards I trudged through the mess of sibling misery and the selling of my childhood home. Let me just say that it behooves all of us to get rid of every possible thing we can before we get to a certain age. You sure don't want your children dealing with it. As for all those precious treasures, if only my mother had bought something like that Chinese vase they found in England that sold for a fortune. Instead she bought things she liked, never paying too much out of a Depression sense of frugality. Most were worth less than she paid for them. What she had an eye for was real estate. For that I am very very grateful.

Through to the Fall and into the Winter, my poor dog succumbing to old age. Not at all the same as my mom, not even close. Still I loved her and loved the memories of her playing with my kids in the backyard. She was the best outfielder ever.

I keep waiting for that so called silver lining. It must be out there somewhere, but mostly I think that being my age is kind of crappy. We seem to be stuck between watching our kids go off, (if we have them) and watching our parents grow old and lose their minds and die. It's hard not to feel a tad resentful.

I see why I was drawn to writing this seemingly endless novel. It's all in the components. I enjoy writing about the two young girls, best friends. It's fun being seventeen again. If only I could go back, or at least have that sense of freedom and possibility. I also have a lot of sympathy for every character;for Amelia Earhart who rushes impetuously into life, defying the odds, willing to try anything and everything. For her sister who, (at least in my version) can't help both defending her seemingly perfect sister and resenting her. They're all me I suppose in one way or another. And they all represent feelings I've had over the course of the last few years. With age comes wisdom. Yes, but I could do with a little less wisdom and a little less age too, thank you kindly.


  1. Thanks guys. This post seemed to strike a chord for a lot of people. I can imagine why actually.
    Life as we know it, fun, fun, fun.