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October 24th, 2008

Family

Family and Entropy
Begin Emo Broadcast in three, two one --
     I've had an interesting week; getting to deal with the new office, having fun with fleas, that sort of thing. I'd been looking forward to a weekend where I could un-tax my poor old brain.
     Then I called my mother, and was forced,  as has happened too many times in the past six months, to acknowledge that time marches on, and drags us with it to the heat death of the universe. I don't know what's worse; that uncontrolled, awful and unending plunge into the future, or the horrid moments when time seems to stop, just to force you to look at how it has treated the people you love.
     For the second time in a very short span of months, she asked who I was when I called her on the phone. And it was like a kick in the teeth for a very long split second.
     There actually was a reasonable explanation for her confusion. In fact, both times this happened, there's been a reasonable explanation.
     But here's the thing. Each time, I heard the fear in her voice when she asked, "Who is this, please?" And I heard it when we laughed about it afterward, and I knew why. She was remembering my aunt, her sister, who was erased by Alzheimer's. She told me a while ago, while we waited for my aunt to die, that she was afraid she'd suffer the same fate. I, of course, told her she would suffer no such fate, and not to worry. And neither of us quite knew what to believe about what we were saying.
     My mother is an amazing woman. I love her dearly, and am so glad that she's my mother. Her life has been tough, but she's lived it honestly and righteously. She is not without fault, to put it mildly - but in my eyes she is beautiful, inside and out.
     It would be melodramatic and inaccurate to say my mother isn't the woman I remember. It would also be the simple truth, and spot on. That's the way life is. But I don't like it.
     It has not been right that time has gradually robbed my mother of much of her hearing, so that this woman with the beautiful alto, and the love of music, can't listen music any more. It hasn't been right that rapidly growing cataracts bid fair to take away (even if only temporarily) her books and television, the remaining joys of a largely housebound octogenarian whose small circle of friends is almost completely gone.
     Of course, the universe doesn't give a tinker's damn about rightness or fairness. It's only interested in balance, and balance requires that beginnings have endings. Whether they come suddenly, or are long and drawn out, is of little import. I know that. I know. I know.
     But I don't want to, and I reserve the right to whine about this, because whining is comforting white noise that hides the damned silence. The silence of that moment when time stops to show you where it's going to take you, and everything you love, and the silence that says you don't get to go first, that The Mother will go first, and the universe will really, really, be a little colder for you before time stops entirely.

End Emo Broadcast in three, two, one --