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Thoughts and Analysis


Illustration submitted by the author

Remembrance by Veronica Collins
Illustration submitted by the author


Occasionally, in those slow moments in which life stalls, stutters, time stretches – I find myself walking backwards. Back to the counter, the bedroom, the desk, questioning, what was I doing? What did I come here for? What was I intending to do?

It happens to all of us, the catch in time when we come to, moving automatically. This moment we find ourselves in, severed from the moment that just was by a hiccup, a skipping of the record, a missed connection. It happens to me more and more as my record becomes increasingly layered with scratchings, etchings of time and accumulation of thoughts. The bump and grind of my days, the beat becoming more urgent with each passing year, driven by the desire to “fit-it-all-in.” Amid the dance of “quick quick, hurry hurry, life is short” I sometimes find myself suspended like this – in mid-step, the teaspoon over the cup, the book in hand, the eyes staring into the mirror blankly. What did I come here to do?

***

My mother walks a tightrope of time. Like so many women in her decade, she is suspended between loyalties to citizens of different eras: her four adult children, her college-aged daughter, her ten-year-old daughter, her grandchildren. In her home she cares for my grandmother on my father's side, while she works hard to keep tabs on her own mother via long-distance: both grandmothers (“Nana's” to me) suffer from Alzheimer's. My mother stretches between these disparate territories of life – the staggeringly broad span that the nurturing vocation demands of a mother, daughter, grandmother. Stirring tea for Nana with one hand, holding the phone with the other, signaling with her eyes to her youngest daughter to “get off the computer right now and do your math homework.”

My mother does crossword puzzles to keep her mind sharp. She is careful never to wrap food in aluminum foil – it increases one's risk of Alzheimer's. She does crosswords and reads through challenging geography textbooks and literature classics. It’s good for the mind, she says, keep your synapses firing, keeps the trillions of essential, fragile bridges from collapsing into a river of forgetfulness.

***


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