These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections-sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.
Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-stripped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, 'Don't worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He's trapped in a perfect world.
Judging Natalie as my mother had judged me was, I felt like telling her son, just my ass-backward way of showing love. I'd spent my life trying to translate that language, and now I realized I had come to speak it fluently. When was it that you realized the thread woven through your DNA carried the relationship deformities of your blood relatives as much as it did their diabetes and bone density?
Outside the hospital, a young girl who was selling small bouquets of daffodils, their green stems tied with lavender ribbons. I watched as my mother bought out the girl's whole stock. Nurse Eliot, who remembered my mother from eight years ago volunteered to help her when she saw her comng down the hall, her arms full of flowers. She rounded up extra water pitchers from a supply closet and together, she and my mother filled them with water and placed the flowers around my father's room while he slept. Nurse Eliot thought that if loss could be used as a measure of beauty in a woman, my mother had grown even more beautiful.(The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold)
That night my mother had what she considered a wonderful dream. She dreamed of the country of India, where she had never been. There were orange traffic cones and beautiful lapis lazuli insects with mandibles of gold. A young girl was being led through the streets. She was taken to a pyre where she was wound in a sheet and placed up on a platform built from sticks. The bright fire that consumed her brought my mother into that deep, light, dreamlike bliss. The girl was being burned alive, but, first, there had been her body, clean and whole.
In the fall he picked up his phone one afternoon to hear Grandma Lynn.'Jack,' my grandmother announced, 'I am thinking of coming to stay.' My father was silent, but the line was riddled with his hesitation.'I would like to make myself available to you and the children. I've been knocking around in this mausoleum long enough.''Lynn, we're just beginning to start over again,' he stammered. Still, he couldn't depend on Nate's mother to watch Buckley forever. Four months after my mother left, her temporary absence was beginning to take on the feel of permanence. My grandmother insisted. I watched her resist the remaining slug of vodka in her glass. 'I will contain my drinking until'- she thought hard here- 'after five o'clock, and,' she said,' what the hell, I'll stop altogether if you should find it necessary.''Do you know what you're saying?'My grandmother felt a clarity from her phone hand down to her pump-encased feet. 'Yes, I do. I think'It was only after he got off the phone that he let himself wonder, Where will we PUT her?It was obvious to everyone. ~pgs 213-214; Grandma Lynn and Jack;