|peruvian pepper tree branches from the back yard|
Maybe that's why I'm having trouble sleeping.
And maybe it's mourning . I am finding the death of my mother a whole different deal than the death of my father, in 1999. Yesterday, my brother Ross emailed this picture of my father in the family kitchen at 108 Post Road in North Hampton, New Hampshire...
The snow banked on the windows! Dad in one of the red shirts Mom made for him on the old Singer! The smell of one of Dad's freshly-baked loaves of bread! The dear silverware drawer, the dark blue oblong plastic bowl that held from-scratch mashed potatoes, or canned corn, the plant hanging between the windows ("was it that ivy thing?" my sister Meredith asked when I described it to her); on the shelves of the cupboard next to the sink, a can of Yuban, the corner of the old green cardboard box that peaches came in where Mom kept the oil and vinegar cruets, and is that a container of Elmer's glue on the top where she would have secreted it away (hey, Elmer's costs).
How could I have moved away? How could I have not been there every second, helping them, accompanying them, telling them I loved them?
Maybe some of us to leave home to find our truest "home" (and I'm not talking about California), but there's a price and of course you can't know the price when you set out on your journey. And of course the questions linger: Was I embarking on a bold pilgrimage or was I/am I just selfish? Have I been on an adventure, or have I been on one long escape?
I have not wanted to think too deeply this year about "the holidays," the first in 60 years without Mom here to psychically anchor them. I skated over Thanksgiving (insofar as you can skate over TWO dinners, cooked with love and with people I treasure) and I've signed on to spend from December 24th to December 26th at a monastery.
Am I fleeing or going toward? Am I withholding, or longing to give in a new way?
I am urgently awaiting, but for what? For whom?...
"In the brightness of the saints, from the womb before the day-star, I begot thee"...
|The chant, In splendoribus sanctorum, from Psalm 110, |
is the communion chant for the propers of Christmas midnight Mass,
sung before the distribution of holy communion.