So, today is my mother’s birthday. It also is the fiftieth — 50! —anniversary of my father’s death. Most of my lifetime ago. She would have been 87. He is forever 43. A birthday and a suicide. I think about how angry, how desperate, how… sad my father must have been to stage his dramatic exit on this particular day — her birthday — and also that it was kind of a jerky thing to do. I have a right to judge him, and to comment on the protocol of his suicide, because that was one of the things he left behind for me. My mother stayed alive, and worked hard to take good care of my brothers and me when we needed being taking care of. I celebrate her birthday, and who she was, and keenly wish she hadn’t had to leave so soon. As for my father… I wish the same things.
I am grown now, a mother myself, yet still, somewhere, I am their child. Time is such a spirally thing, but some relationships are once-in-a-lifetime. When I was growing up, I never associated the two events — his death on her birthday — partly because I was seven years old when it happened and also because, well, it was my mother’s birthday! and birthdays are truly a wonderful thing to celebrate. Life and good win out over sad and loss, hopefully always and forever.
In fact, our lives are made up of good and sad and sometimes inexplicable loss, as well as failure and outright mistakes, and all the rest of the stuff we do and that happens. I am trying to make sense, or at least, observe, two things that happened on this day. My mother was born, and later, when things fell apart for them, my father chose to end his life.
The weather was mild today, and I sat outside after dinner for a long time, watching the light fade. Frogs have begun their marvelous, astonishingly loud evening chorus. The leafless trees silhouette against the sky, a view I never grow tired of seeing. There is a crescent moon, waxing, I believe, towards full. I sit in the dark, with my hood up against the chill night, thinking. I have no grand insight, except that I am here, right now, and glad to be so.