Born in 1922, my mother is eighty-four today ó a fact she probably wonít remember, despite receiving two nice cards in yesterdayís mail and a call last night from my brother in Armenia. What Iím afraid she will remember is the dream she had at one-thirty this morning, and the subsequent sadness and confusion that made it necessary for me to remain at her bedside for the next hour.

Although my father died eleven years ago, she suddenly recalled his passing as if it had just happened, and she had found herself alone for the first time. One by one, we went over the details surrounding his death: the hospital, the cemetery, the funeral, the gathering of family and friends at her house. Through it all, she wept ó partly from a feeling of shame that she could have forgotten any of it, even for a moment, but mostly because the man she loved was gone.

As I write this, there is thunder. Why thunder, now, after several days of calm warm weather? Why now, so early in the morning, when my mother is exhausted and needs to sleep? And why does it linger, just overhead?

July 4, 2006

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