Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Cooperative sadness

An old house burned down the other night. It was one of many in the historical district around here, over a hundred years old. It’s been student housing for the last couple of decades, and it was vacant for the summer to be repaired.

I used to live around the corner from that house in another historical home that had been remodeled to serve student needs. I attended no fewer than four parties there and smoked no fewer than three packs of cigarettes on that porch. The porch’s painted steps are the only remaining recognizable parts of the house, and despite the charred debris all around them, they’re still colorful. It’s almost spooky. It makes me sad.

All of the memorable moments in my life belong to a place. Kirchoff Park is where I asked Brooke to be my girlfriend. The parking lot of the Fourth Coast Café is where the first digital picture of me ever was taken. The footpath at the Nantahala Outdoor Center is where I stood to gaze down at the first Class V rapids I passed as a professional. My cube at that Godforsaken research institute is where I learned that I was going to be an aunt.

My room around the corner from that old house means so many things. I felt loved and betrayed there. I learned about my mother’s cancer and my aunt’s death there. I stared out the leaded glass window, the original window from 1894, and tried to motivate myself to live or to die. I sang loudly and tried to ignore the sounds of other people having sex. I had sex to drown out someone playing the euphonium at midnight on a Friday. I drank and smoked and ate and danced. I can’t imagine it gone. I can’t imagine it reduced to a pile of charred wood and gypsum board. It’s bad enough that the leaded glass window was removed, but the thought of the room and the house in their entirety in small, black pieces over the foundation is too much.

I can’t imagine the day that one of my past homes is destroyed. It seems like such a burden to maintain the memories without the site as a relic.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save
Powered by
RSSify at WCC

Powered by Blogger