What’s not there

June 20th, 2007

Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there – Miles Davis

Today is Mom’s birthday. She would have been 74.

Yesterday I was sorting stacks of Georgia’s drawings and cards from the very beginning, settling on a new round of keepers, and I found some letters Mom sent in her last year.

We received Karen’s letter today, so I thought I would send a quick reply.

She was a letter writer, a dutiful letter writer. She did this with the diligence of stenography, the now archaic art, which was one of her perfected disciplines. She documented things unarguably well.

Dad and I went out and ate Mexican food on Wednesday night.

Sometimes my sisters and I giggled about the chronography of her letters: the litany of meals and miles, temperatures and rainfalls.

On Thursday, the 11th, I have another chemotherapy. I can expect aftereffects.

She did not adorn; she did not dwell. She did not linger over the things that can never be expressed.

I include some pictures.

They were snapshots of the baby shower her friends had hosted after Georgia’s birth, a treat to sweeten her numbered days.

They aren’t very clear. I thought I would include them so you can share the experience with me.

Oh how I do. How I still do!

She remains my first and last teacher. Everything she never said grows clearer all the time.


  1. In your book and again here in this entry, thank-you for sharing your mother with us.

    Comment by bella — June 21, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  2. Karen what a beautiful post. I cherish my mother’s letters as well. Not just because she has passed away, but because no one writes letters anymore! In fact they are locked in a fire-proof box because I am so attached to them, hahaha! Yes, how our dear “departed” loved ones are still here with us, still teaching us.

    Comment by Leah — June 21, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

  3. Yesterday I watched on late-night cable, for the umpteenth time, “The Sixth Sense.” My favorite scene is when the child tells his mother that HER mother is proud of her “every day.” Even after our mothers are gone, we long for their counsel, affection and approval. Mom, do I make you proud?

    Comment by Patty Ann — June 29, 2007 @ 7:27 pm

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