I laid awake in bed for hours, imagining instructional poems I’d write on my poetry site. Fell asleep again; had a strange dream about a re-do of our mother’s memorial. A neighbour in another land had arranged for me to host it — for those who hadn’t made it to the first.
Unlike at the first memorial, when other kind souls had done most of the work while I socialized with long-unseen nearest and dearest, this time I hid in the back kitchen, preparing food and laying it out on rows of long buffet self-serve tables. I also laid out a table of unwanted clothes to give away.
Unseen guests kept arriving, to take both the food and the clothes; or at least, the food and clothes disappeared, gradually, as if by magic. It seemed I’d successfully killed two corpses with one stone.
My sister came to join me; a sunny surprise. I confided that I felt terribly guilty for not going out and socializing with the invisible-to-us guests in the big dining hall, as they ate the laid-out food. She agreed she felt the same. It was overwhelming; and how could we begin to have meaningful interactions with all of these loved ones, in the little time we had.
And wasn’t all this in-person meeting illegal anyway, in the time of coronavirus? (I’d accidentally kissed one guest on the cheek as they arrived in the back door, out of habit; before they’d evaporated to go dine. There’d been gasps of horror stifled amongst the disappearing crowd.)
The dream-guests felt bad they could not help us with our remote and seeming nonsensical grief. Their frustrated sadness turned into waves of resentment that found no home, wandering aimless.
Image (and text): © Nadine JL; painting by Lucie (my mother, RIP).