18 November 2015

The Dying of the Light

I don’t know if I made the applesauce tonight because my children are coming home for Thanksgiving and I could gift it to them, or because my mother is dying and I learned to make applesauce from her—using the food mill I saw her use to smoosh down the cooked apples. I do not in my memory see her in the kitchen, but I certainly know the mill and the recipe. Apples cooked until very soft, turned through the mill, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon added to the sauce.
     The thing about my mother’s impending death is that when she goes I become the eldest left in the family. I think it is not the responsibility but the position that startles me. No one knows the hour of his death, and any one’s demise can precede my own, but when I look forward there is no one between me and death: when death stops I will be the first thing it sees.
     Morbid thoughts, cold and rainy night. Outside the leaves have all fallen from the trees—it is, after all, mid-November, but at least there is yet no snow. At 5:00pm the sky is dark, and at 6:00am when I awaken it will still be dark.
     I remember someone telling me recently (was it you, David?) that a professor of his thought Dylan Thomas’ line “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” bad poetry and terrible philosophy. Mom will go gently, and that will be for her very right and proper.