19 November 2013

Silent Remembrance

I watched this today on Janet Reid's facebook page. It is from a performance artist's retrospective at MoMA in 2010. It made me cry, tears welling almost instantaneously, staining my cheeks and spilling until my eyes were sore and my heart heavy.

Three minutes of a witnessed encounter affected me the whole day. There is so much contained in the silent conversation between the former lovers--shock, joy, pain, reconciliation--it made me weep for everyone missing from my life.

This Saturday, November 23, will mark the one year anniversary of my mother's death. There are reminders of her all through my house--clothes, pictures, notes written in her beautiful Palmer penmanship. The other day I had a remembrance of her sitting in her recliner, wearing a fuzzy sleepshirt. I could feel the fabric and the warmth of her body, and it was both comforting and deeply sad, because I know the day will come when I can't conjure the tactile sensation of her, the weight of her hands in mine, the sound of her voice.

When she visits in my dreams, there are no restrictions or limitations, and our meetings are joyous but silent, because she doesn't speak to me. Shortly after she died, I dreamed she came into the kitchen and sat down beside me. The Captain and his mother were there and they couldn't see her, but they knew I could. She was Early 40's Mom, no oxygen tubes or grey hair, and she was beautiful and happy. It was fantastic to see her, to touch her.

 A few months later, I dreamed we were riding Schwinn bikes around a beach town. I honestly don't remember ever seeing my mother on a bike, but it didn't matter. We had a great time silently pedaling, sun on our cheeks and wind in our hair.

Mom has visited One numerous times, and she spoke with Five when he was at his most anxious, telling him third grade was her toughest grade, too. I think she checks in on those who need her most, and I know our late night visits will become more sporadic as time passes, just as my father's did before her.

This is why the performance resonated so profoundly within me. I wondered, if given the opportunity to visit with someone you had loved deeply and not seen in many years but you could only face one another for three minutes of silence, would you do it?