Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Strange. I seem to be going through the gamut of emotions, these past three days. This morning I woke in great sadness from a dream about my mother. We had received two packages from her, odd bags labeled and addressed in her familiar handwriting. Opening the first, I found a mess of pretty much useless stuff--the kind of stuff she could never bring herself to throw away. Perhaps because of the experience of World War II, it amounted almost to a sin to throw things away. "Waste not, want not" could have been the family motto.

Opening the first package--I never got to the second--I discovered two small decorative bottles not quite filled with a clear liquid that turned out to be some kind of fruit brandy. I tasted a drop from one bottle, and it seemed to be still good. A label affixed to the bottle with scotch tape told the story of its origin, also in my mother's handwriting, now shaky with age. I remember reading it carefully and telling Ellie she should read it, too, but I don't remember what it said.

Also in the package: two big, ugly English silver teapots, one still highly polished, the other black with age; a few other silver items, including a long box which I never got to open; a yellow baby's onesie, which perhaps my mother imagined little Luka could still wear; a pair of fashionable high-topped floppy brown boots with heels, of the kind my mother herself would never wear--could they have been my sister's? And a random tangle of other old, unusable clothes.

I thought, in my dream, that it would be nice to call my mother to thank her, and to have a catch-up conversation. Communications, I remember thinking, are so much easier today than in those days when you had to pretty much book a transatlantic call and yell into the telephone to be heard. But then I woke, remembering that my mother is long, long gone, that I can no longer call her; and that my sister is gone, too (curiously, tomorrow, February 8, would have been her birthday...)

So yes, it was with great sadness that I woke this morning. These past three days I have woken overwhelmed with three of the four major emotions, anger, fear and sadness. I learned long ago to name them in a semi-rhyming scheme: mad, sad, glad, scared. Would it not be nice if I woke tomorrow with the "glad" one: joy?

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