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.