emember that book that mom read when our brother died? I was a baby barely six months old. You were home from school, and you took the night shift for mom many a night in those dark first few months. No one ever really talked about that time, but you told me a thing or two about it and about him despite the tacit agreement that the baby be protected from sadness.
When I was five, I found the book stuffed in the bookshelves of the Wentwood house. “When Bad Things Happen To Good People.” The book’s title fascinated me. Bad things didn’t happen to good people! Didn’t this author know? You go to temple, you go to Sunday School, you volunteer in the school and community–you inoculate yourself from bad things. Your mom teaches you how to cook fabulous suppers. You baby-sit your nephews and nieces. You love your family. However, as I got older, I realized that yes-bad things can happen to anyone although it was hard to accept.
Then, a really bad thing happened, followed by several more bad things until I came to a point where I found myself writing a book about a woman going through a divorce (art imitating life). For some reason, I decided that my heroine needed to be reading that book when THE guy..the one not supposed to be on her trip sat down beside her on the plane. Of course, she was mortified while he was amused because he already knew her secret penchant for self help books. She confessed that her mother was making her read it.
Do you remember this? I read you drafts of the book this summer, and you made little K leave the room for the racy parts. We laughed so hard at the ode to Mom in my book. How typical of mom to heal us with a good read. No wonder my heroine loved self help books.
So now, guess what? Mom is making me read the book. She thinks it would be a good idea to help me deal with all the loss. I have started to read it. It isn’t bad. Not as good as the Agatha Christie novels that we used to stay up late and read when I spent summers with you, but I suppose it helps.
Mom is at the funeral home right now making arrangements. I’m supposed to write your eulogy and speak to everyone about you, us, everything. It makes me wish that I could go back to being the baby and being protected from all the sadness. You’re not even gone, and I miss you.