Grief Handbook, Part 17

Did I mention the name this handbook will now officially have?  Carrion Comfort, a Grief Memoir, after Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Carrion Comfort.”  I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “Carrion Comfort,” the picking at the wounds, the graving of the place that hurts, so very much.

I am there now.  In New Orleans.  Sleeping once again in my mother’s space.

It’s so strange to be back.  I spent all summer here–and before, years and years of growing up, once and again.  But this was a visit without true purpose, just to see my dad (a true purpose, yes, but I was not in town for, say, a wedding or such).  I still expect her to be here, to lurk in every corner, in every, as TS Eliot would say, drain and corner of the evening, along windowpanes.  My mother is that foggy cat, seeping into everything around me.  Is this my love song?  I’m not sure.

I’m not sure.

But I do know this: it’s the first trip to New Orleans in which I feel like a grownup.  There is something about traveling to your hometown, to see your family, that makes you feel so young.  Not this trip.  I’ve aged.  Or again, as Eliot said, “I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”

“Do I dare disturb the universe?”

do dare.  I refuse to revel in my carrion comfort. Instead, I will try to push forward, to see, to smile, to live, to enjoy.  Not because “it’s what my mother would have wanted,” but because it’s what I want.

No carrion comfort.  No.

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