A mother’s death

Meghan O’Rourke on writing a mother’s death:

Trying to let her go, I found that I was only hungry for more of her. A mother is a story with no beginning. That is what defines her.

The piece also, inevitably, goes on to muse about Orpheus:

She told me that she wanted to die in our living room, where she could look at old things. A great blue heron had begun coming to our lawn and perching on a rock by the small pond at its foot, and she liked to keep an eye out for it. In her last weeks, I would sit next to her, rubbing her feet, watching her gaze out the window—she looked past us, like an X-ray machine. Already left behind, I wanted to call out, like Orpheus, “Come back! Come back!”

Yet the story of Orpheus, it occurs to me, is not just about the desire of the living to resuscitate the dead but about the ways in which the dead drag us along into their shadowy realm because we cannot let them go. So we follow them into the Underworld, descending, descending, until one day we turn and make our way back.

Must-read of the day!

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