Coming home for family is complicated.
My mother’s cousin, Gina, was dying. She knew this. We knew this. She’d been making her peace with the aggressive return of an aggressive cancer for over a year. She blogged an astonishing, beautiful account of her journey into darkness and light. Each of her posts is full of a story, complete with its own logic, its own arc, its own purpose. Gina was full of purpose.
She went in for a brain scan in late February, and came out in hospice. News found me on a Monday afternoon. Tuesday night I was at my mom’s house, outside Providence.
That’s really strange for me. The last two years, I’ve basically avoided airplanes. There are several reasons for that—mostly about petroleum—but one effect I didn’t expect was the time travel.
Yeah, the time travel.
You get used to a 2000 mile journey taking three days. (Which is itself a mind-boggling act of time travel, let’s get real.) Yet, there I was, nine hours, door to door. It thew me off. I felt like someone had folded the paper between New Mexico and Rhode Island, and made a shorter line. And then there was of course the grief, and the jet lag.
Everything that happened there is tinged with a strangeness. Coming home for family shouldn’t be so unfamiliar. But that’s what I felt: a freshness where it should be old hat. I’m not sure if that comes through in the photographs. I’m not sure if I’ll still see it a year from now.