After trying off and on to reach my mother all day, we finally
connected. She had changed rooms at the hospital.
I sometimes associate distance and not being able to connect
When you aren't with a person, or talking to them on the phone,
they are not alive in your space. How is that different than
if they are not alive at all?)
had, I think, one of our better chats in months.
Sometimes we shed our armor and pretensions and are able to talk
better in times of crisis.)
brother who flew in again today from New York—his
third flight to Chicago this week—had just left,
long with my sister and father to go to dinner at what
is becoming their
lair du camp,
Santorini, a great little place in Greek Town.
(Kim: When I taught
at the Art Institute there was one place in Greek Town that
we went to alot when we were interviewing teachers. It was
of course, wanted to talk about how my mother was feeling.
Emotionally and otherwise.
That is where I tend to go.
To what Joseph
Conrad called "the heart of darkness."
(Kim: So did we both
read it at U. High? I remember where I was sitting in the classroom
when the teacher was talking about "the heart of darkness"
and I thought it was so cool that there was a parallel between
the heart of a forest and the heart of a man.
want to see TV or movies right now because I don't want to
clutter my brain
with how people visualize stuff. It is overload.)
is not where she likes to go.
We could divide the world up between those you are willing
to go there, and
those who aren't. I thought your mother was a psychologist.
I guess that doesn't mean anything. My mother was a psychiatric
social worker...not afraid to go there...but everyone gets
scared when it really gets dark.)
you never know. And you can’t blame a girl for trying.
She said she felt a little better.
Probably as a carrot
So I tried to pull some
of the day that I thought
I told her that Evelyn,
my father's sister
had called me to
She perked up.
"What did she say,” she asked.
"She wanted to know how you were. I told her as much as I
"Uh huh. What else?"
“Well, then Evelyn said, ‘Your father doesn’t
seem very upset. He seems pretty fine.’"
So I said, “That's funny. He is very upset. When did
you speak with him?’"
And she said, "A few weeks ago."
“A few weeks ago? But Evelyn, my mother wasn’t
in the hospital
a few weeks ago. So why my father would have been upset?"
My mother and I agreed that my aunt is
I told my mother that my heart went out
to her, that she had had to put up with
60 years, since my aunt came along with
my dad. It was part of the territory.
I said that my dad was a bit of dingbat,
too. In his own world and his own thoughts.
That he was brilliant but also nonfunctioning
in many of the most
My mother agreed and then
we decided that my
Aunt Evelyn was
a special kind
In a league of her
"Sui generis," my mother said.
Lying in the hospital at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's, contemplating
the morbitity rates
of potential bypass surgery, getting ready to leave her home in
I was greatly relieved.
Thin and wan though
she sounded, her
on things and
are still in tact.
I told her that it
sounded like she
was ready for
New York Times
My mother is the
I know who does the
New York Times crossword
We talked about other
family members. She
know who else had
called. We talked
about her only
whom she does not
and her sister's
daughter, who she
"Uncle Sy is busy praying for me at the temple like he always
said, sounding unconvinced.
I believe in prayer
although I am not
sure to what effect
or for whose benefit.
know that I feel
it and I believe
part of it.
So I said, "I love Sybut maybe he needs to rethink
this. He has been praying for years and look where we are."
So I asked, "Mom, I don't get the thing with you and Judaism.
You come out of such an orthodox backround and sometimes,
you seem so disparaging of it. What is the deal? "
And she said, "I don't mind Judaism. I mind religion."
"Because it is too confining."
(Kim: This could be
my mother talking.)
Then she said she
was tired and needed to go but that she loved me very
that I know
be, I jumped
as much as
(Kim: It is difficult
to deal with your mom being sick as it reminds me of my mom
being sick...and it reminds me that Friday I need to go to
the hospital for a test. This is all about me and my mother
as much as yours. I guess that is how we get what someone is
saying when we communicate.)
"Sure," she said. "And we quarrel. But what
have to do with anything?"
Like I said a stellar
There are shooting constellations
in my galaxy