Sunday, October 28, 2007

a long time ago


Today, almost twenty years ago today, L's mother died. She died in a hospital bed, in the middle of the night, shot full of morphine and riddled with cancer. A few days before, I had heard her ask one of the doctors if there was any way, any possible way, she could have just one more year. She was worried, she said, about the twins, L's younger brothers. But she said it without any particular hope. She was a mathematician, specializing in recursion theory, and she understood that, while the definition of a recursive series seems circular, it generally includes a termination point.

The photo was taken in a park somewhere in Paris, before her mother died, before the war. She must have been running ahead, racing with her brother, when her father told her to come back and stand over there, there by the hedges, and to look up, straight into the camera.

14 comments:

Lori said...

When my Dad was dying, I think he would have given just about anything for even one more day. It is never enough time...

I love the photo.

the dragonfly said...

I can't find the right words to say. Except that you are blessed to have the photo.

Amelie said...

I'm sorry. I see some parallels here, sad parallels. Keep the picture safe. There is a somewhat similar one of my mother, younger than her in the picture, between her two -- much older -- brothers.

Christine said...

that is a haunting photograph. and a sad, sad, story.

Julia said...

I think it is a good thing that little girls don't know what awaits them.

Magpie said...

That's a dear photograph and a touching sad story.

Eva said...

My condolences for this anniversary.

Wow, you have known him a very long time!

LAS said...

One day, one year - it's never enough. A lifetime doesn't feel like enough to make up for all the things I wish I had done differently. It saddens me to think about it - and your post brought me right back to that moment of anticipating the end and the overwhelming sadness. I am terrified, beyond description, that I am going to get breast cancer again and die, when in theory I have a lifetime ahead of me. I'm only 30. You have to live every day like you are going to live forever, while at the exact same time, living like you have only one day left.

Suz said...

I love the photo and the memory. Sometimes, when we think we're far away from death, it's easy to take for granted that the desire for one more day, one more year, will be granted.

Emily said...

a haunting and lovely photograph indeed. Is there any way to come to the end and not wish for one more year or one more day?

Kami said...

A reminder that our lives last only as long as they last so we might as well enjoy all that we can.

I am sure she had too short of a life. They are all too short.

slouching mom said...

oh that photograph. it's so beautiful.

My Reality said...

It is a beautiful picture and I hope it brings L some peace.

Elizabeth said...

Such sadness, and such love.