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Sunday, July 8, 2007

July 8th

Today is July 8th, 2007.

That means it's been thirty-one years today.

Thirty-one years ago today . . . about two in the morning . . . I was laying in my bed . . . in my room . . . in my barracks . . . in Turkey . . . after working four to midnight . . . trying to get some sleep.

Then came that knock on the door. And I wasn't trying to sleep any more.

As soon as I opened the door and saw the First Sergeant and my commander at the door, I knew what was going on.

My mom, who had been in and out of the hospital for her emphysema—and more in the hospital than out lately—was gone.

I know with certainty that I never heard them say it, but I knew what they saying. It was two in the morning, after all. Why else would they be there?

It saddens me, it shames me, how little I remember of her now; I was only a month shy of twenty at the time and I'm fifty now. A lot of time has passed, and my memory isn't what it used to be. And she's been gone half again the time that I knew her.

Yet I'm still ashamed I don't recall her better.

And yet.

I do remember needing to reach out and grab ahold of the dresser near the door.

I remember stepping back toward the bed, sitting down on it as they explained that I could go home on emergency leave, fly off first thing in the morning. Military hops all the way to the States and back on Uncle Sam's nickel. All this I remember. All this I heard.

But I never heard them say she was dead.

My mother wanted to be cremated, and so she was. Her body was ashes before I made it home, so I never saw her body.

That is something I regret, something that I wish had been in my power to change at the time.

She'd only be 85 now if she had lived, so a part of me—that part that never got the closure of seeing the body—has always waited for that time when I'd see her again, jumping out of a closet, and yelling "Surprise" like it was some big joke.

I know that ain't gonna happen. But there's still that part of me that never really put her to rest.

And perhaps that is not such a bad thing. For, in the words of Bob Dylan: she still lives inside of me, we've never been apart.

Now, as I've said here before, one of the ways my mom lives inside of me is through my feelings toward the written word, and the role she played in bringing about those feelings.

I could retell the story now, but I invite all book lovers who have braved on to this point to honor my mom's memory with a click through to read the tale. As I've said elsewhere, consider it an essential bit of Techsplorer history (Techsplorer is a word here meaning me, your host).

Matière du jour:
Constantine I
(Category: Religion)