Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Journeys of magical thinking

My father died quickly in the middle of the day. Mona Simpson, Steve Jobs' sister, said in her eulogy of him that his last words were "oh wow. oh wow. oh wow." My mother told me that my father's last words were "κορίτσια μου...". In my native Greek, that means "my girls..."

For some time after his death, words escaped me. He had had a lot of faith in my words, in my ability to make magic with them, even if I could not quite grasp what that meant at the age of 11. He read every word I ever produced, from history papers on Otto von Bismarck to letters that I wrote home from camp. After glaucoma deprived him of his sight, my mother and I read my words to him and he made suggestions -- sometimes gentle ones, sometimes proclamations that "this is crap!" and I needed to start over. My sense of faith in myself was tied to his vote of confidence in me. His loss rendered me mute.

With the brains of a very young woman, I thought I could hide from grief. I packed the memories of the early days of mourning and sealed them, hoping that if I did not cross their path again, I could escape a confrontation with grief. Many years later, it was Joan Didion who caused my unraveling.

Click here to read the rest of this post on love, loss, and Joan Didion over at Gypsy Girls Guide.

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