Monday evening, 09/10/01And this is where my diary ended. Almost 7 years later, I still find myself wishing I could pick up the phone and talk to him.
Rushdie and Fury
Attended a reading by Salman Rushdie sponsored by a writers group here in Houston. He was brilliant. I mean like all the bright, breathtaking, multi-faceted, shimmery things that have ever taken your breath away. Articulate, deeply funny, self-deprecating, right on about so much. A man who has paid for his allegiance to expression and truth in a way that most of us will never understand. Talked obliquely about the fatwa he had survived for writing Satanic Verses but mostly read from his new work, Fury. I am completely taken with this rumpled, professorial man.
Outside [before, during and after] are Islamic fundamentalists protesting Rushdie’s "heresy." There are unexpectedly quite a few of them but they are peaceful and I find their presence disturbing and comforting—their right to disagree is so honored yet his disagreement brands him a blasphemer.
Tuesday morning, 09/11/01
Eight days after I flew out of and seven days after Daughter left Boston for St. Louis, 2 airplanes depart Boston's Logan Airport and are made to crash into the World Trade Center. We watch the news in open-mouthed horror. A live view of the burning towers in the background. The news commentator doesn’t see the second tower collapse until seconds after we do. It’s like nothing I have ever seen.
9 months after diagnosis, Dave died of a brain tumor. He was 46 years old.
Don't get me wrong, the custody battle was 2 years of textbook awful and I'm not one to forget the past in a wave of sentimental eulogizing. Like current relationships, I prefer the messy gestalt to sanitized interpretations. I miss him. I sometimes mourn what this has done to my relationship with Daughter...but I prefer the excising of myth to living in deception, no matter how pleasant the illusion.
This tragic event was juxtaposed with a critical stage of parenting, a visit to my past, a brilliant writer, a brush with Islamic fundamentalists, a horrific attack on our country by another group of fundamentalists and subsequent horrific war launched by our country on Iraq. Difficult to tease out which parts took center stage in depression, rage, hope, healing and mourning. Like a sticky ball rolling down a painful hill, the time period contained so many terrible and wondrous components.
[It wouldn't be honest if I didn't add that Dave's death was indirectly responsible for the birth of this blog. The insurance money did help us stay afloat during Daughter's final 3-4 years of college. A part of it also helped me to achieve a childhood dream: to study Spanish in Spain. That was why this blog was born. As a way to communicate with friends and family from one central point while I was there. I never envisioned that I would continue posting after my exchange program ended and I didn't for a full year. Then, the urge to write compelled me back but I couldn't have anticipated it would mean so much to me...all of which is, in part, a result of his passing.]
So Dave is gone these 7 years. My son has grown to a man I am deeply proud of. My daughter graduated from the university and is amazing, complex and beloved. They have to deal with grief in their own ways. My lovely St. Barbara steps back and lets me deal with mine and this is how I do it.
part one part four