Recently in Because I Love someone Category

Our way of life


I'm sitting in Cleveland Hopkins International Airport waiting for a delayed flight to Newark.

I miss my family. I've been apart from them for a total of forty minutes.

We met for the Baha'i holidays this year - Ayyam'i'ha, four days of celebration.

My wife arrived first, via Las Vegas, where she attended by step-brother-in-law's wedding. I would have loved to have gone. Ingrida's father was there and I like him. He's got a ready smile and is willing to work hard. But I'm looking for work and it was an imprudent time to take my eye off the ball so Ingrida passed through Mentor (and then came back) a few days before I arrived.

Mendon drove down from Chicago the next day, then Mara drove up with Liam, then Rachael and Eric drove out. On Friday, we drove down to pick up Mark from Columbus and drive back up. No Kristen, but everyone else made it.

No Maman. That was tough, but hardly unexpected. It didn't go totally unmentioned, but I never know what to say. It feels to me as though there are some feelings to which no words can do justice and the keen grief we feel at the loss of our mother is one. Mendon seems to do the best at wresting meaning from the inchoate spiritual maelstrom wrought by the void where my mother used to be; his words are comforting. And I'm proud to have a brother brave enough to attempt what I believe to be impossible. But I still think it's impossible to put my keening into words.

We baked bread every day. Liam woke at 7 every morning; Mara or Mark woke with him, then me, then Papa, then slowly the rest of the house. Breakfast - sausage, pancakes, eggs, cereal, orange juice and tea, pot after pot of tea.

It was wonderful. And the sadness of leaving is sticking in my throat. I love my family.

I spoke to Caitlin! I spoke to Caitlin!


Wow! Wow!


I'm...I'm having a hard time holding it together, actually. It feels like my emotions are pulling me, hard, in a dozen different directions.

So, Caitlin is my cousin. She's my Uncle Christophe's daughter from his first marriage.

We've never met. She's forty, I think, although she sounded like she was about twenty-four on the phone.

And I'd never spoken to her. My mother used to remind the kids about her, until I was about eight or nine or so, and we'd talk about her from time to time.

I hoped she had a new family, that her mother had remarried and that there were lots of new aunts and uncles to love her the same way that we had Aunt Barbara & Uncle Christophe, Aunt Sherry & Uncle Phillippe, Aunt Margaret & Uncle Claude, Aunt Barbara & Uncle Thom, Aunt Margie & Uncle Johnny, Aunt Suellen & Uncle Gene, and cousins: Celeste, Jesse, Jamie, Jonathan, me, Mara, Rachael, Mendon, Zayne, Rahmat,

But I wanted to meet her. She was my cousin, after all, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family.

I'll admit that, quixotically, I used to have little fantasies about finding her and saying, "Hey! We're your cousins! Want to come swimming?" And we'd go swimming and then she'd go home and say: "I spent all day playing with my cousins!" and then some kind of middle step that I never really figured out would happen and then we'd be family again.

And, of course, I'd be the little hero and we'd all be happy.

Well, real life isn't like that. Or maybe it is, all except for the hero part or the we'd all be happy part. Not that I'm not happy, but I am crying. I was so terrified of crying the whole time that I just talked non-stop, like a Thompson machine gun with a stuck trigger. (If you're reading this, Caitlin, I'm sorry!)

She's cool. She's really, really cool.

She's clever. She speaks Java and .jsp and has "machines" instead of "a PC" and is a Mac person deep down at heart - but is really into this MicroSoft powered tablet, because OneNote is just so cool. And I haven't even gotten to the parts that got me all choked up yet. Although, yeah, that did make me a little moist eyed.

So, what had me choked up?

Well, you know that dream about the class that you didn't know you had, and that you'd been accidentally skipping all year and then there's an exam and everyone is like "What? Didn't you study?"

This is like that. I have a cousin that I know deep down in my heart that I love, and she's been my cousin for 35 years but I only just met her!

And the part of me that is still five is like: "This is not fair! I want a do over!" And the part of me that's grown up is like: "Hey, it isn't lucky to know her now?"

And Mommy would have loved her. She's funny, as in snort milk through your nose funny.

So it's bittersweet.

But mostly it's sweet. I'm really happy to have another cool cousin. And I'm going to call her again. Eventually, we'll find out the not cool things about each other. But not yet.

Around the clock care

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Maman needs 24 hour care now.

She is very frail. My mother slipped in the shower about a month ago and broke two vertebrae. When I lift her, I can feel the pieces of her broken vertebrae grind against one another.

She cannot speak. We know she's in pain or has to pee because she moves rubs her feet together. She signals no by a single blink. Mind you, her eyes are closed all the time now, so that comes across as a sort of closed eyed squint.

There is no signal for yes. She can only indicate "no." So that's just like when we were kids, anyway.

She can't drink water. It hurts too much. Without water, she won't live much longer.

We're taking turns to sit up next to my mother all night, one boy and one girl, because it takes one of the boys to lift my Maman and because, when she could talk, she indicated that she didn't want the boys, except my Dad, to help her with the bathroom stuff.

Last night, Rachael and I stayed up and I'm pretty shattered right now.

One thing is certain - it's infinitely better to be here than anywhere else. I'd be a wreck if I was somewhere else. Also, I don't know about everyone, but for me, this comes with some real relief. Listening to my mother in pain is a terrible feeling. When the end does come, she'll find some peace. Other people who have been with loved ones during a long battle like this one have said the same thing to me and I never understood.

Now I do.

Mara had a 5 lb. baby boy. His name is Liam.

I don't know anything else, but that's enough.

I'm trying hard to concentrate on work. I think he was born around midnight last night, because I got the text from my Mother at 0440 my time. I couldn't sleep.

I can't explain it, but I'm so happy - so happy for my sister, for Mark, for this new baby Fojas.

I'm just...just over the moon.

Best day ever!

Things I love about my mother

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I love my mother.

If I could sing at all, I'd sing a song of praise:

Thank you for the gift of life, Maman, with all its heartache and joy.

Thank you for showing me how to love someone for your whole life. I wouldn't know it was possible if I hadn't seen it.

You're beautiful. I have a picture on my mantlepiece of you and Mara, both of you in your twenties. You're beautiful.

Thank you for always somehow knowing what I mean. For example:

Me: "I made thisfor you. It's a necklace that looks like Mimi's."
Maman: "The only necklace Mimi had like that was the one that she wore to the Halloween party in Narberth in 1957. She dressed up as a savage and Poppop was the great white hunter."
Me: "That's the one!"
Maman: "You've only ever seen it once. In a 50 year old photo. In black and white. When you were six."
Me: "It made a big impression on me! That's definitely the one."
Maman: "That necklace was made out of tiger teeth. This necklace is made out of coral."
Me: "Yeah, but it looks like it!"
Maman: "I love you, Nae. It's a very nice necklace."
Me: "I love you too, Maman." <- See! That's what I really meant. How you knew, I have no idea. You must be psychic.

I love your mulberry sorbet and your sour cherry pie and your cherry olives and your pot roast and your chicken paprikash and negre en chemise.

I love your paintings and your photos.

I love my purple and green wool socks.

I love every memory of us laughing together, sometimes for no reason.

I love you, Maman.

the rest is silence

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I love my mother.

I call her Maman, but in my head I still call her Mommy.

I can remember when she knew everything and could do anything.

I always squirmed when she held me.

I'll never do it again. I promise.

I love you, Maman.


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Shining flashing gems
Catch me, hold me, keep me still
Rooted by your eyes


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The cars are rushing at me, but I can't move.
"I love someone!" I shouted.

A woman looked up, startled, as her husband swerved around me.

My hair is wild; my hands have been through it so many times they are greasy.

I can feel my heart in my chest, the leaden thump, the sick sideways lurch that pretends to be a heartbeat.

"I love someone!"

I can hear it echoing off the stone and glass of the office blocks and Georgian tenements of Queen Street.

A light flickers on across the street and a girl in just a bra pokes her head through her curtains to glare at me.

"I love someone!"

It's so loud my head rushes like the Raukawa Falls and reminds me of the last time I felt this pain.

The steed of this Valley is Pain...

My knees are on the pavement now, chewed gum and cigarette butts and chip wrappers from Festival revellers.

My eyes are deserts. They have nothing left to cry.

The girl in the window hears me, she looks sad, then down, then away, biting her lip, the curtain closing.

A lover is he who is chill in hell fire. A knower is he who is dry in the sea.

"I love someone!"

I'm looking at the stars now. There are millions of them, the scattered ashes of my cremated heart. I try to clutch at them; I want to cling to life.

"Please..." I whisper. "Please..."

"I love someone." It's barely a whisper now, and I know I have to go to bed, the bed, our bed, my bed, my half-bed, love's coffin, the quilt a shroud, tear-made salt stain rings. I have to wash this before I give it back. I think.

Cake is playing in my head. "She'll come back to me. She'll come back to me. All day, I wait and wait to hear her footsteps on my walkway. She never came. She never even called."

I'm so full of love I'm choking on it, swollen with it, ready to burst with it.

"Please..." Comes out again. I don't know what I'm even pleading. Who knew?

I'm inside now. I don't know how I managed the key. The trash needs to go out. It's Thursday. It's stacked at the bottom of the steps. I'm carrying the bags outside. My upstairs neighbor's bags are heavy.

Quiet, quiet; my sister is sleeping, her husband beside her, in the spare room.

"I love someone." I whisper to the dark living room, but the sofa knows, the chair knows, the floor knows. The fireplace knows, nodding in somber sympathy.

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