I’m not much of a crier.
I sat in the back yard listening to R.E.M. after my mother died.
Crying has never done me any good.
Better to rock.
Jumping around to rock helps, too.
I learned not to cry.
I was sitting at a coffeehouse today when my eyes filled with tears. I went out on the patio and wept. I had a sudden memory of the day before my mother’s death, when she rocked herself back and forth in pain, muttering: “I’m sorry” (after a certain age your parents WILL vaguely apologize to you), “I might die,” (“You might but you might not!”), and “Help me.”
I helped her.
I asked the nurse if Ativan or Ambien might help her sleep.
She explained the morphine, instead of tranquilizing my mother, had made her hyper. That happens sometimes with old people.
So they took her off the morphine, which had kept her awake and in pain.
And then the next day she slept.
“I love you, Mom!” Crying as I went out the door.
Two hours later she was dead.
She is the only person close to me who has died.
But the crying thing…
Perhaps if I’d cried more at the time…
I wouldn’t have become temporarily cyberaddicted…
If you cry when it’s appropriate…
The not-crying thing started at the funeral when I had an epiphany that there is no life after death. Perhaps the epiphany was because of the bad behavior at the funeral, relatives not speaking to relatives, etc. I had another epiphany today: there’s a 50/50 chance.
I couldn’t cry at the funeral because I hadn’t saved her. I arrived at the nursing home too late (I had been sick) to insist they send her to the hospital across the street. Two years ago I saved her at an assisted living facility from someone who had ignored, or not been informed of, a doctor’s recommendation of hospitalization.
Strange how you can NOT know someone and miss her so much. Mom, the mother of me, the adult, and I had little in common. She belonged in a Dickens novel (Miss Flyte, only with knickknacks and no canaries) and I am a contemporary novel by… well, Frederick Exley plus Muriel Spark plus War and Peace = ?
But Mommy–when did she become Mom?– was ALWAYS in my corner, to the extent that, all evidence to the contrary, I believe I AM the best at everything (except sports!). Yes, the best!
AND NOW ON TO MARY WEBB’S GONE TO EARTH. A couple of bloggers (is it a male thing?) mocked Mary Webb last year.
But Precious Bane, her masterpiece, which won the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse Prize,is powerful and lyrical: her heroine, Prue Sarn, has a harelip but a very good figure, and when she is accused of murder, she prevails through her intelligence and friendships. Webb’s style is reminiscent of Thomas Hardy’s, though three notches down in style. Precious Bane is a romance.
You see, Hazel Woodus loves her fox, Foxy. She “had found Foxy half dead outside her deserted earth…. Hounds symbolized everything she hated, everything that was not young, wild, and happy. She identified herself with Foxy, and so with all things hunted and snared and destroyed.”
I love Foxy! I want a pet fox, too.
Anyway, men are hunting Hazel, one good man, Edward, a minister, who marries her but does not have sex with her (a mistake), and Jack Reddin, the squire, a guy who crudely rapes her in the woods, but she goes to live with him because she needs sex.
Instinctively she felt that she belonged to Reddin now, though spiritually she was still Edward’s.”
And then it is back and forth between the men.
Hazel is like Tess in Tess of the D’urbervilles, only blatantly sexy and much less conventional Edward is Angel and Reddin is Alec. Threesomes never work.
And Hazel is also a bit like Marty in Hardy’s The Woodlanders, the poorly educated minor character who is far more interesting than the well-educated heroine, Grace. Both Hazel and Marty are working girls: they do”bark-stripping”:
What is bark-stripping? Hazel explains,
“It’s fetching the bark off’n the felled trees ready for lugging.”
This is Hardy for girls.
Actually, I could write a long defense of this novel, but I am not in the mood tonight.
Webb is obsessed with nature, sex, and symbolism.
The structure of Gone to Earth is perfect, though the style is a bit clumsy.
Trust me. It’s not good, but it’s entertaining. FOR WOMEN ONLY.