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“Why do they sustain me so, cheer me up, remind me of life? I don’t understand this. Why am I not endlessly grieving?”

Profound, hilarious, beautiful writing about being a geezer with a lot of dead cheerleaders.

Roger Angell’s writing jibed, somehow, with something I wrote in my journal yesterday:

I thought suddenly – on my way just now from my office to the Foggy Bottom metro – of my mother, about whom – despite my deep love for her – I don’t very often think. Given the drama of my father’s death [suicide], I think a good deal more about him. But okay, I think of Mitz, and… it’s kind of a blank. What is Mitz? My sweet sweet mother to whom I owe it all, really – all my happiness. Because she loved me so much. But the thought I had – the only thought I had – recalling her, was “Now that I’ve got a bit of age on me it’s absolutely obviously true that I’m totally unlike her.”

It is the duty of the dead, writes Saul Bellow somewhere, to be forgotten. (In Herzog, he writes, “To him, perpetual thought of death was a sin. Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.”) I don’t like the end of that just-dead interim, when they’re still alive because we’re mourning them so intensely — when that’s over, their duty to be forgotten comes into play, and they fulfill that duty.

Amazingly, I’m still in the David-interim almost three years later. A measure of his immense influence. Just the other day for some reason I produced a small squeak of compassion at the thought of him, rather than the routine angry bark … He must finally be moving out of the interim…

Margaret Soltan, February 26, 2014 12:00PM
Posted in: great writing

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One Response to ““Why do they sustain me so, cheer me up, remind me of life? I don’t understand this. Why am I not endlessly grieving?””

  1. janet gool Says:

    Dear Margaret,
    At some point the compassion overcomes the anger. That’s my experience, at any rate. But then that immense influence fades as well.

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