Sunday, August 06, 2006


I saw my cousin yesterday for the first time in many years. My cousin who rescued me from my own personal terrorist back in 1980 when I was running for my life. She "took us in." I'm sure people still do that. My son and I showed up and stayed for a long time. It was the bottom of my life. It became the bottom of hers.

Linda owned a beautiful little split level home on the coast. She worked, had a car, the love and respect of her family and a german shepherd named Heidi. Her house was impeccable. I learned much of the little I know about keeping house from her. I think I was 26. Maybe 27. When I got there, I was nearly unrecognizable from the bruising. My head was so sore I couldn't brush my hair. She and some other women french-braided it for me. We drank: blackberry daquiris, tequila and lime, you know, fun stuff, recreational drinking. High end alcoholism. Then one day I said, "hey, lookit this," with a needle and spoon in my hand, and she was off and running. And the house and the car and the dignity followed it its wake. She lost everything. HOmeless, penniless, ostracized from her family with children she loves but never expected to have.

She blames me. Enough of it is true.

So, I saw her yesterday and she is dying. Kidney and liver in failure, just like she is. She is an old woman now. Not just like me, 50-something and still ticking, but OLD. She was a snapshot of the ravages of time. NO, that's not fair. Time alone is not that cruel. But hand in hand with Vodka and orange juice, her ass is kicked. She stopped drinking after the stroke four years ago, but there is so little left.

I'm trying to figure out if I should post this. It is my blog, I can write what I want, but really, what is fair? Anne Lamott says to be careful with the (barely)living.

It is a beautiful day in my beautiful life. I live it carefully, and gratefully, and know it should have been me.


asia said...

That was great. We've talked about that before, and whether you should post it or not I am glad you did.

a. said...

I'm glad you posted it too. It's life.