21 July 2004 by Published in: in my life No comments yet

Yesterday we got mail from the Montessori school. Applications forms, supply lists, the school handbook, parent volunteer forms and the class rosters tumbled out of the large envelope. After about an hour in which I perused paperwork, my astonished mother asked me “Are you still reading stuff from the Montessori school?” I was. There was plenty to read and I devoured every word. I was excited, filled with anticipation and wildly pleased. It has been a long time since I felt unalloyed joy at anything. I love Sophia and I know the Montessori school will suit her perfectly. I can’t wait for her to go. She will thrive. I am not saying that since yesterday all is happy and good for me now. It most certainly is not. Still, a moment of pure enthusiasm like I experienced, however briefly, gives me the surety of what I could previously only suspect, which is that there are edges to my anguish and despair. It has form, it is finite, it is not eternally all consuming. There is a difference between knowing this by logic and experiencing it.

I have not written much concretely about people’s gestures towards us in the aftermath of Simone’s death but I wanted to highlight one thing in particular, since I’m talking about the Montessori school. Many, many were the people who brought food and company and gifts, especially gifts for Sophia, during this time. The bookkeeper at the Montessori school arrived on our doorstep with a package and tears in her eyes. I could not believe that they went out of their way to express a gesture of condolence to us when our daughter is not yet even a student at their school. In fact, I’m not even completely sure how they learned that Simone had died, although we have friends that know people at the school so there are ways they could have known. This reaching out to us seemed to me to encompass all of the good qualities of the Montessori philosophy and spoke to me very truly about a group of people who have certain ideals and practice them not just as an educational system but in all aspects of their interactions. The gift itself was also typically Montessori. It is a gorgeous ceramic bird feeder : speaking to the value of beautiful works that are made by hand as well as to the importance of our relationship with nature and to the connectedness of life and death. I love it, and love that it was given to us. Maybe I will take a picture of it and post it here. I am hoping to find a very good place for it in the yard so that we can watch birds together and remember, hopefully fondly and not quite so sadly as we do presently, our departed Simone.

Yesterday I spoke on the phone to a family friend in Spanish and he used the word “fallecer”. This is a very respectful and graceful way to express the verb “dying” without pussyfooting around the way “pass away” does in English. I had forgotten how good and right a word it was.

Sophia is grieving in her own way. I don’t know if some of the things she has said and done should be analyzed in this forum. Maybe later, maybe elsewhere, maybe not at all. It is a thing that is much on my mind, however, even if I don’t write much about it here because I’m trying very, very hard to – and there’s no graceful way to put this – not fuck it up. At any rate, I will say this: there has been an absence of music and an absence of singing at our house for several weeks. This is an unusual occurrence, as Sophia loves music. Often she could be seen running circles around the couch as she danced to music and yelling out “I like this music!” Yesterday, the silence that had settled into our house was lifted. I pulled out her Mozart Cube and asked her if she remembered how it worked. She told me she did and started up the music and commanded me to dance with her. Then, when Kurt arrived, she demanded that he dance as well. She turned round and round with bright eyes and a contagious smile. It is simultenously heartening and heartbreaking to be with her because she is so innocent and so wonderful and reminds us so much of what we have lost. One cannot help but dance when she insists on it, though, and I think it may have done us all some good.

I can see that this post is all over the map. I am sorry about that. Believe me, it’s far more frustrating for me than for anyone reading. I am still having difficulty with concentration. Today I was so sure it was Thursday that I fixed Sophia’s Water Day bag for daycare. Someone in my family gently corrected me before I got out the door with it.


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