Here's some more

5:23 AM Thursday, December 9, 1999

One of the things you don't expect when you start sending your journals all around the world and putting them on web pages and shit is that your mother is going to die and that you'll be forced to decided if and what to write about it. I wrote a shit-load about my father's death in the safety of pen and ink. Now I've kinda started a thing that has a life of it's own. Right now it's alive but it is dying. It is making the words come out like hair in a Play-Doh barber shop. Slow and blue, cracking with non-toxic sameness.

sarnath squatter   34157 bytes

I'm not sure if breathing in airline fumes is going to give me the gusto to write the kind of email I should right now. I'm even pissed a little bit that I'm writing "email" and not just writing. I'm pissed that it's not just to myself any more. I know it's OK if I sit here and enjoy for you the beauty of Row 28 on my 767. Of a mother, in a green sweater, with gold jewelry, holding onto her child, who has lashes an inch long, sleeping. She can somehow supervise even through sleep. I know it's OK if I write that down. That's wholesome, good ol' American values that I can be proud of, even if she is Indian and we're flying over Saudi Arabia. I know it's OK but I'm just a little bit tired of it.

Ok, I'm over that indecision. Let's write. My mother died today. Or yesterday, that is. She was a great woman. Not like Eleanor Roosevelt or anything. She was just a farm girl - and the runt of the litter at that. She was great precisely to the measure that I can make her great. 'Cause she was my mom. 'Cause she's just as goddamn epic as those fucked up Oakies, the Joads, from Grapes of Wrath, and she's just as tragic too.

All my notes about how she grew up are back at home so I can't type them up for you now but I have a bunch of stuff that I collected in interviews over the last few years. She'd get going sometimes and when she figured out that I wanted to hear anything, no matter how "silly" it was, about her life, she'd tell me some whoppers. My mom didn't have a middle finger on her right hand. That's seems like a pretty big thing but I can assure you, if you've got a mom still alive, there's some really big, important stuff about her that you've taken for granted and you might forget if she dies. That's the realization of how precious life is that you get from death. That's what makes all those people throw good taste and spontaneity out the window and video tape their entire child's lives. That's what's making me write when I should be blowing up my U-shaped neck pillow and getting down to some seriously unsatisfying sleep.

My mother died of an aneurysm and a hemorrhage in her brain. I'm guessing a subarachnoid hemorrhage. That's when the walls of your blood vessels get too thin and they burst and you bleed all over your brain. Apparently it's like getting a really bad headache and then passing out. I don't have the exact diagnosis right now. Just enough details as it was pertinent to give over a half-way-around-the-world phone call. Her sister died of a stroke last February. Florence. Her Brother George died of a stroke this summer. Hmm... These people's brains keep blowing up. That's all I have to say about that.

Except this: My sister Dani went over to her condo when she didn't show up for work and found her laying on the floor. That's the thing that makes me really, really sad, over and over. I can picture the shag rug and the piles of newspapers and stupid junk she bought at the drugstore all around her. My mom had white hair and she was really short. She wore those "slacks" that you get for $4.99 in the back of the National Enquirer. I don't know the details yet but I want to know exactly how she was laying and where. 'Cause it matters, ya know dignity wise. Although, my mother never was one to be very dignified. She was always trying desperately to hold onto her dignity - fighting, one might say. I guess the only people who do that have already lost it.

So Dani found her, and once again, takes the brunt of the trauma our family has to dish out. I wish it could have been me instead but I was gallivanting (that's my mother's word) all over Bombay and having a fantastic dinner at "Only Fish" and just recovering from another fight with intense digestive malfunction. The scary part is we will all have that happen to us find a loved one brain dead on the floor. Or something like that. Unless we die unnaturally young. I dare you to find an old person who hasn't had something like that or worse happen to them.

Am I cheering you up yet? If you're getting all huffy about how depressed you're getting, I say, "Get Over It!" It's bad enough to get depressed but you don't have to get all upset about how upset you're getting. That's bullshit. For example, I'm letting a simple thing like the fact that I know how to tie a shawl around myself to keep warm in the same the same way that a Rajastani Villager would (and that the shawl is actually keeping me warm) keep me from getting depressed about getting depressed. OK, a topic has been introduced, discuss amongst yourselves.


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