Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Year of Magical Thinking (1)

This is such a tough book, I'm seriously wondering how to treat the article. I'm only on page 62, but the mood is depressing and the talk is all about death. Didion has her "cool cucumber" act to a perfection as she stands back and recounts her story of loss. It's easy picturing her at the hospital and alone in the house with this same cool demeanor. I'm wondering if she ever comes out of her shock and just breaks down.

In the first four chapters Didion has quoted many a poem and scientific study. My favorite lines are from WH Auden's "Funeral Blues" which is also quoted by Gareth in Four Weddings and a Funeral:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

It is within the 3rd chapter we find her meaning of the title, A Year of Magical Thinking. She feels her husband isn't really dead and will return.

I discussed this with my mother-in-law and she knows how Didion feels. She explained that it didn't happen with her late husband, but with her father. Her father had a long white Cadillac and rode around with a Greek hat on. She said there was another gentleman that happened to be her father's friend and had the same white car and silly hat. Every time she crossed paths with this oddity, she just knew her father was returning home. What she didn't mention was her father's occupation...traveling salesman. So, it is understandable she might think he returning from a trip.

I have a trick I use prior to someone's death. I kill them off way before it is their time to go. I don't literally take the person's life, but pretend they have already died and have a huge cry over it. It is very effective for people I'm real close to. When I found out my grandfather had sold his farm and retired, I pretended he died that day. I went out to the farm and just had a huge guiltless boo-hoo. When he died a year later, I found myself very accepting of his fate. All the memories that flooded my mind were welcomed and quite pain free.

My system isn't flawless. There are still those people that die too young and I find it a struggle to understand or let go. The grief is uncontrollable and embarrassing for me when an unexpected death occurs. I guess most people experience a shocked state when young, vibrant people die. In all cases the same nagging question is on everyone's mind. Why?

No comments: