The first week of my postmaternal life is done. I'm back at (my new) home, and back at work. I keep waiting to fall to useless pieces in reaction
but nothing continues to happen. I wonder if watching her deteriorate for those many months, when I was so morbidly depressed and angry, was in fact my period of deep mourning - as the woman I knew as Mom drifted further and further from us, mentally and physically. If by the time she stopped breathing there was nearly no Mom
that hadn't passed on, and been awkwardly released in turn.
In a completely surreal moment, I was doing my bimonthly surf through the movie trailers on Apple's Quicktime site when I came across a film starring Frank Langella entitled Starting out in the evening. It is, apparently, about a writer at the end of a decade-long fallow period, sitting in his recluse apartment and trying to write, who is interrupted by a young female scholar interested in his work. So much, so familiar.
The problem is that it was filmed in the apartment I grew up in, from age 2 to age 18. It is dramatically changed in some ways - someone who owned it moved the kitchen to where the master bedroom was, and stripped the decades of white paint off the wooden french doors, for example - but it is my apartment. The strangely-built security chain on that massive front door - that size because its metal panels cover wide swathes of windows from back when front doors could be glassed too.
Just to ice the cake, Langella's writer character writes in the room that my father, a writer and author, used as his office. I think the desk is turned ninety degrees, but that's about it.
The week my mother passed away, I spent an hour sifting through the celluloid panes of memory writ in the background of a movie trailer, spinning backwards to catch the moulding on the living room wall; freezeframing to realize that the cabinet next to the door was where the turtle tank was.
I finally heard from an old neighbor in the building that yes, in fact, the movie had been filmed in our apartment. It wasn't a set. It wasn't a happenstance resemblance. But I knew that from the views out the windows.
I can't go home again.
To all those who have /msged me with voices of support over the past weeks, thank you. More than I can say.