Roger Angell on Loss

Roger Angell, writing in the New Yorker, says it all perfectly…

“My wife, Carol, doesn’t know that President Obama won reelection last Tuesday, carrying Ohio and Pennsylvania and Colorado, and compiling more than three hundred electoral votes. She doesn’t know anything about Hurricane Sandy. She doesn’t know that the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, in a sweep over the Tigers. More important, perhaps, she doesn’t know that her granddaughter Clara is really enjoying her first weeks of nursery school and is beginning to make progress with her slight speech impediment. Carol died early last April, and almost the first thing that she wasn’t aware of is our son, John Henry, who is Clara’s father, after saying goodbye to her about ten hours before her death, which was clearly coming, flew home to Portland, Oregon. Later that same night, perhaps after she’d gone, he had a dream, which he wrote about briefly and beautifully in an e-mail to the family. In the dream she is hovering close to him, and they are on 110th Street, close to the Harlem Meer, at the Northeast corner of Central Park. The Park is bursting with spring blossoms. She is walking a dog that might be our fox terrier Andy. Then she falls behind John Henry. He turns to find her, and she has become an almost black shape and appears to be covered with feathers or black-and-dark-gray Post-its. She and the dog lift off the ground and go fluttering past him, and disappear over the low wall of the park.

What the dead don’t know piles up, though we don’t notice it at first. They don’t know how we are getting along without them, of course, dealing with the hours and days that now accrue so quickly, and, unless they divined this somehow in advance, they don’t know that we don’t want this inexorable onslaught of breakfasts and phone calls and going to the bank, all this stepping along, because we don’t want anything extraneous to get in the way of what we feel about them or the ways we want to hold them in our mind. But they’re in a hurry, too, or so it seems,. Because nothing is happening with them, they are flying away, over that wall while we are still chained and handcuffed to the weather and the iPhone, to the hurricane and the election and to the couple that’s recently moved in downstairs, in Apartment 2-S, with a young daughter and a new baby girl, and we’re flying off in the opposite direction at a million miles an hour. It could take many days now just to fill Carol in.”

About Nicole Lobry de Bruyn

Born in the psychedelic sixties to hard working and conservative parents my sister and I grew up in sleepy suburban Perth, Western Australia. We played by the river, the beach and in the bushland of the cementary. I loved a chocolate Dachshund enough to make me want to become a veterinarian. I did. I became paralysed from the waist down when car hit tree. But not running, walking, standing or kneeling didn't prevent me being a vet. I am still a vet but would prefer to write and read and read and write about walking and not walking, feeling and not feeling, knowing and not knowing. So this is what happens when you enter thechookhouse.
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One Response to Roger Angell on Loss

  1. Charlotte says:

    I just read that article and thought how poignant it was .. x

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