16
Mar

Cleaning up the birdshit

It will have been one month this weekend since my mother’s passing. We’ve kept busy and we’ve tried to keep our emotions at bay for the most part, allowing ourselves only spurts of grieving. I still hope that maybe if I keep busy for long enough, I might let the passage of time dull grief.

But really, if not for my very supportive and loving wife and my darling baby boy, I don’t know how I’d have been able to hold it together. For Naomi and I, our Annus Horribilis began last November with the sudden death of her brother in Shanghai. Since then, it seems to have been one shocking piece of news after another.

And watching Japan reel from the earthquake is just… I don’t know.

My sister’s friends who’ve been similarly bereaved because of their parents’ sudden demise tell her that ‘the first few weeks is usually spent looking for things’.

My sister, brother and I have been doing just that – keys, passwords, safe combination numbers, bank statements – some have been found, and some haven’t. There have been moments of levity though, with the discovery of some of my mother’s handwritten memos – to her staff and to herself, some of which are about the most bizarre matters.

In one memo she talks about contemplating buying a parrot for my father because she thinks keeping one would provide him company and conversation. (Papa is homebound because of Parkinson’s).

The memo ends with this: “Kenny (my younger brother) says birds are dirty and you have to clean up all the birdshit. So, KIV”.