01 March 2009

A Matter of Time

"Can you believe it? We're into March already."

"I know."

"Only four more months..."

That was Mom reminding me of how close--or how far?--I am from my surgery.

It seems that everything has become a matter of time now. The past few months, the past year, have flown by. Yet I feel like a six-year-old kid to whom Christmas seems like an eternity away. And I know it'll be here before I know it. Of course, if you tell that child Christmas is just around the corner, he or she will never believe you.

Mom and I were both thinking about the same people today: her parents, Uncle Sonny (her brother) and my cousin Sandra. All gone, long gone, although their deaths seem to have come only yesterday. Uncle Sonny's birthday would have been on the 7th, and grandpa's birthday--and the date of his death--were the 21st: the first day of spring. For a long time, I hated that date and that month; the coming of spring used to seem like the original lie. Flowers opened from earth, from mud that had been someone's bones; the dew's source was in their blood. My early poem The Lies of Spring was my first attempt to honestly describe how I felt about it all.

This Saturday, on the 7th, Uncle Sonny would have been 77 years old. He was the same age as I am now when he died. Grandpa was 72; Mom and I both expressed disbelief that on the 21st, it will have been 43 years since his death. Years ago, she told me that she's "never really gotten over it." She chastised herself; I said that there's no timetable for grief.

Then again, she doesn't want to handle things the way I do. She never said that to me, but I wouldn't wish on anybody the depression I fell into after my grandmother, her mother, died. I was depressed before her death and was all but inconsolable for several years afterward. It's really a wonder that I made it through that time; how is another story.

At least today I didn't have to be surrounded by my past. I'd gone to the Hunter College library to pick up a book I need for the class I'm taking. I very rarely go into the part of town that surrounds the college and have had little contact with the college. So images of my old stories didn't parade themselves before me and through my mind, as they did during the walk I took after having lunch with Bruce the other day.

Those last couple of days have flown by. And, yes, the day of my surgery will come before I know it. When I look back from that date, this day, the last couple of days and the past few months will seem to have raced by. And I will probably feel eager and anxious to start my new life, even if it has already begun.

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