Not a holiday slipped by without celebration.  He was one of the lucky ones unambivalently glad to be alive.  Any moment was a photo op.  There are 4 albums of photos on the shelves in this house and 3 big drawers crammed with them, not one taken after April 10, 1993.  Here are 32 shots of him and his mother in Calistoga lounging around the pool.  Here are the duplicates of our trip to Ireland.  Here am I, getting awakened in bed by Lisa and Kim on my birthday. And us together, healthy and happy, in a hiatus from the afflictions.

Serena was here last weekend, helping me clear out clutter. All weekend, unpleasant choices: what to throw away (there is no away.)  Eventually I sat down with the photographs.  Handful after handful went into the wastebasket, confetti strewn upon the heroes we were, making sweetness out of a hard time. It felt like a betrayal.   There was no one to object.  His mother is gone, too.

The true history is inscribed in the heart, but when I stop and let myself look, I see how much has been lost in the wash.

The drama’s done.  Why then here does any one step forth/—Because one did survive the wreck.



  1. Serena Billmayer

    I’d like to say something, but can’t seem to find the words. I wondered when I saw the massive pile on the table last week. Like the Collyer collage, it reaches out to grab your heart.

  2. Thanks, as always. Reading this again will help when I can’t put off that task even one day more. I have found assembling a Day of the Dead altar every November to be a good ritual, the altar a place to put that “one that survives the wreck” in the growing crowd of good company.

  3. Just sending hugs and kisses.

  4. (sigh…)

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