Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Accentuating the positive

My mother only believed in one kind of news: good news. Bad news did not get delivered. People who divorced relatives of ours were never referred to again, as if they had never existed. Even if they left a couple of kids behind in their wake.

Even the dead were forgotten as soon as possible.

For instance, I was a teenager before I realized that my mother had had two siblings who died young. They were never discussed, their graves were never visited, no-one was even named after them. It was as if they deserved to be forgotten for having had the bad taste to die in childhood.

When my grandmother was very ill, my mother's weekly bulletins went like this:

Me: How is she?

My mother, judiciously: I think she's a little better.

Every week she got a little better, until she died. She had improved herself into another plane of existence, so to speak.

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