Wednesday, October 6, 2021


Births and deaths create eddies in time.

My oldest child was born in the middle of a Wisconsin winter and I remember sitting there with a newborn for the first time, staring vaguely out the window at the cold January streets and wondering how all of the people passing by could do that so nonchalantly, as if the world hadn’t just changed, as if everything was just as it had been before.

Of course for them it hadn’t changed, not really.

But my world had, and for a brief moment time seemed to roll back on itself, moving forward only in a very small radius of space, until eventually the rest of the world caught up with a roar and we were suddenly all in the same moment.

This is why new parents look so vague all the time.

My dad passed away on a clear day in late winter in Pennsylvania a few years ago, and as we filed out of the hospital and back toward home the same sort of disjuncture was there, an eddy in time where things in my corner of the observable universe did not move at the same pace or in the same direction as they did everywhere else.

It is a strange feeling to be caught in these eddies, in a place where the world had changed for you but not for others, not yet.

My mom passed away on Saturday morning, and here I am back in another eddy.

If you have a moment, spare a thought for someone who will be dearly missed by those who loved her.


LucyInDisguise said...

I sat here for at least 10 minutes after reading the penultimate sentence of this post searching for some meaningful words ... only to arrive at the inescapable conclusion that there really are no meaningful words that I can offer.

Sue and I want you to know that we will be holding you and your family in our thoughts during the days ahead. Please don't hesitate to ask if there is anything you need.


David said...

Thank you - both of you. I appreciate it.

When there are no words, presence will do.

David said...

You do realize, by the way, that she was one of your biggest fans. :)

LucyInDisguise said...

Oh, yes - all too well. I would have considered it a bona fide privilege to have met her in person.

Emotions tend to run deep, especially so at times like these. My wife & I spent a not-insignificant period of time talking about this last night. She could see that this news had hit me unusually hard and didn't really understand why. I pulled up your post so she could read it and I think it became clearer to her. There are a thousand different ways you could have made this announcement, but you did your mom proud with this.

People die every moment of every day all around the world. People that we have never met - could never have met - and their lives pass unnoticed. There is a (looking for a phrase here ...) a 'sliding scale' that governs how we view those other lives; it is only through personal interaction and connections that we become aware of them on anything like a cognizant level. Your post puts a spotlight on this point with a kind of clarity that really drives the point home.

Your mother will be missed. First and foremost by you and those who loved her, and by her friends, acquaintances, and those who had the privilege to interact with her frequently. Then that sliding scale kicks in. I don't know, at this point, where I fall on that scale. I'm certainly not anywhere on your level but neither am I one of those 'people passing by'. I will always treasure the little interaction that I had with your mother - and can only strive to improve on the time I spend interacting with others in the future so as not to miss out on better knowing those who touch my life. I think, maybe, that is my point:

Missed opportunities are most often recognized in hindsight - and there is rarely anything you can do to fix that fault.


David said...

You brought her a lot of enjoyment here in the comments section. That definitely puts you ahead of the "people passing by" category. She really looked forward to reading what you had to say.

I think she would have been very happy to know that you have taken this lesson from her.

Thank you for that.

Julie Morris said...

I’m so sorry to see this. Losing a parent is never easy. Keep your memories close.

David said...

Thank you, Julie. I appreciate it.

LucyInDisguise said...

David said...

So many people and things that went before.

The ghosts accumulate as you get older.