Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Noir

I made it to summer.  I made it and all time is my time.  I said.  Then BAM we're all sick, knocked down and wiped out.  Not a little sick but a whole lot sick.  Thea has an inhaler for her persistent cough.  I have antibiotics for an ear infection, Rx Sudafed and Rx Flonase, two anti-inflammatories (Meloxicam and Celebrex) for my back, as well as Vicodin, and a GABA something that is supposedly "a good high."  We've been to the doctor 3x, and to the hospital once, for X-rays.  So . . . happy summer!


Thea, now four, is having an existential crisis.  She's been talking about death for weeks.  During bike rides, on sunny days, making dinner, weeding the garden, taking a bath.  James Gandolfini died she heard, from a sick heart I told her.  What about the man with the sick heart she asks. And asks again.  Why did he have a sick heart?  Why did he die?

She does not want to eat the fish grilling on the BBQ when she learns it has died, and must die to be eaten.  We did not want to tell her this, but she asks.  We are not all prepared for the question, even if we didn't not want to lie.  The fish doesn't want to die.  Neither do trees she says, and I'll never cut down a tree.  Weeds don't want to die either.  Again, why did the man with the sick heart die, mom?  I keep thinking about him.  And what about you, mama?  Are you going to die?  What about me?  Will I live a long time?  Will I live a long long long long long long long long long long long time, mom?

We all die, I tell her.  We try not to, but we all die.  It’s okay though because we're made of stardust and when we die we go back to being stardust.  Our atoms and molecules become flowers and butterflies.

Why?

Because we’ll get old, and our bodies can’t keep working.  Or we get hurt badly, and our bodies can’t recover.

Why?  What about this fish?  Did we kill him?  Why?  Why, mama, why?  Why?  Why?  Why?



I am harrowed, hearing these words in her sweet small voice.  Die, die, dead, kill, die.  She makes me feel witless and ineloquent.

Like any mom out of her depth I use the opportunity to push my own agenda.  I talk about vegetables, water, sleep and exercise.  I talk about looking both ways before crossing the street.  I talk about compassion and the dangers of greed.  Finally, I say no matter what happens, I'll always love you.  Forever.  And ever and ever and ever.  Even when I'm stardust.

What if you die before me, mom?  Then I'm damn lucky I want to tell her.  But I say I'LL STILL LOVE YOU.  I'll never not love you.  Stardust to stardust.  I'll be the flowers in your yard, and I'll love you.  I promise.

4 comments:

asha said...

Ahhhhh...THE question. Such a stunning conversation. Your answer is heartbreaking, beautiful and true. And I'll love you both forever.

But what the hell!? Agendas are made for pushing. Otherwise, why have them? Good luck. She's a smart one.

PS. Wonderful writing. You are one of my all-time favorite writers and not just because I'm, you know, your mom.

Don said...

One of mine too, and apart from stardust we're not even related.

I love that with children no question goes unasked.

That picture of your princess in matching facemask is kind of stunning.

Brandon said...

my daughter and i avoid pork because it is just too hard to think about how it gets to the plate, but i bet if i told her bacon came from stardust we might finally enjoy a campside meal.

someone said...

Keep this in your heart. In your special cedar box. On your zip drive. Upload it to the never-failing memorykeeper in the sky. Or, publish. there's always that.

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