I had to stop when I ran into another photo of my mother and her sister, Marguerite.
Marguerite was a couple of years older. She’s the bigger girl in the top photo. She was seven. My mom was five.
Marguerite left Hawaii before I was born and lived her adult life on the mainland, stopping in Arkansas before settling down in Nevada. I remember visiting her in Lovelock when I was a kid.
Sixty Five years later, another photo of the two sisters. This one carefully dated–May 23, 1984. In this photo, Marguerite looks diminutive next to my mother.
We’ve learned that families are always complicated. In fact, complicated family relationships are par for the course, and these sisters were no exception. We’ll never know their whole story, unless there a “tell all” diary stashed somewhere waiting to be discovered. It’s probably just as well.
Two weeks after my mother’s death and we’re still in limbo. You can’t begin dealing with the legalities of death until the Department of Health is able to deliver copies of the official death certificate. These are needed to do everything–retrieve assets, check bank accounts, transfer property title, and on and on. The mortuary warned that the state usually takes 2-3 weeks, and it looks like they’ll take the full three weeks in this case.
It’s all a learning experience, I suppose.
The reality of death has only hit home at odd moments.
This morning we ran into a friend on our walk. She stopped to express her sympathy, and we exchanged the usual small talk. I shrugged, it is what it is, inevitable.
Then Meda said, “We called her The Woman Who Knows Everything. And she did.”
And somehow that triggered a wave of loss that seemed to sweep over and past me and, for a very long second, left me alone and adrift in a empty mental space. We did regularly call on The Woman Who Knows Everything for her esoteric knowledge about Hawaii, history, family, life. She was always there, and almost always had an answer. In that brief moment, triggered by that sense memory, this new sense of loss overwhelmed. They we walked on, leaving our friend to go on her separate way, and the moment passed.