A strange sadness overcame me yesterday when I happened to learn of the death of my first bed-time girlfriend. The sadness seemed to complement or flesh out what I didn't seem to feel about the death of my mother on Jan. 11.
In fifty-odd intervening years, I hadn't kept up with the life and times of the girl who had popped my cherry and led me towards a richer and more confused and more human roundness. I found her married name almost by accident via the Great God Google. She died last year at 70 of cancer. She had had two daughters. Her husband survived her.
The obituary gave the information and something inside me exclaimed, "No! Things aren't supposed to be like that!"
Like what? Like ... however tenuous and uninformed my memories were, still they were my memories and formed a bit of who I liked to think I was. My memories were serious even when I didn't pay them much mind. Because the memories were alive, the person was alive ... and somehow was not allowed to die until the memories died. But of course things don't work like that.
In some small but pervasive way, I felt bereft and sad and surprised and upset.
My mother died at 98. It was her time, I guess, and, however complex the weaving she made in my mind, still I did not feel deprived or deeply sad. Maybe that will come later. Maybe not. But there was something touching and tearing about the 'loss' of a young woman with whom I laughed and gained a little humanity.
I'm not sure exactly what was lost, but I felt a sadness I imagine others feel when someone close dies ... even when they are not close.