Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Ghosts of September

I've been leafing through my journals for a glimpse of past Septembers as my days on NaBloPoMo draw to a close, particularly appropriate as the NaBloPoMo "theme" for October is "haunted". I've discovered the hard way that I shouldn't do this before bedtime; the past of John Mortimer, even the slaughter of the Romanovs, is a good prelude to sleep while my own past keeps me awake.

The last time I did this exercise (both NaBloPoMo and journal-review) was in February, that frozen little limbo in the dead of winter that seems to go on forever. September is different, a inexorable engine of transition, being in many ways the true beginning of the year. Fluttering back into my own past, I found my daughters plunging into the unknowns of new schools, the struggle of adjusting to new homes, new neighbourhoods, new cities. I relived the starts of my pregnancies (both confirmed in September), and the first hospitalization that led to my father-in-law's final slide into death. I remembered other crises: an abortion in the family, and my own marriage trembling precariously on the brink. It isn't all Sturm und Drang, but September never has been a month for eager anticipation; it's more a gauntlet to be got through, so one can lick one's wounds in October.

Since my mind is on ghosts and September, let me keep a promise I made in August. At that time, I wrote about elder daughter's encounters with her paternal grandmother who died three years before elder daughter was born. I was inclined to believe my daughter's story and here's why: Less than twenty-four hours after my mother-in-law died, the Resident Fan Boy had a vivid dream in the early hours of a September morning. His mother came to his bedside, as she used to do when he was a small boy in the rectory, except this time her breathing was laboured as it had been in the hospital during her final week.
"I'll be dead in three days," she told him, "but I'll be out in the living room if you need me."

The Resident Fan Boy woke with a start, desperately needing to go to the bathroom, but terrified of passing by the living room in our small apartment...

Three hundred and sixty-four days later, on the eve of the anniversary of my mother-in-law's death, I too was awoken in the wee sma' hours -- by a very large moth which "strafed" me, zooming from one ceiling corner of our bedroom, down right past my ear so I could hear the small motor sound of its wings, then up to the other side of the ceiling. It did this about four or five times until I wailed in terror, waking the Resident Fan Boy. I peeped out from my refuge under the covers and noted uneasily that the time on the alarm clock was the exact hour of my mother-in-law's passing. Then I mused over the coincidence of "moth" and "mother" beginning with the same letters. She never liked me much....

Well. So much for September. As I've said before, my comfort level is really about two posts per week, so I'll be leaving NaBloPoMo for now, and see if I actually accomplish those things I've neglected while posting daily. Seeing as I've been working with short months first, I plan to "NaBloPoMo" it again in April 2010.

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