Monday, December 27, 2010
Women Writing on Their Husband's Deaths
I just read Joyce Carol Oates' account of the death of her husband, Raymond Smith in the NEW YORKER (part of a book, I think). His was a somewhat sudden and unexpected death that rocked her to her core.
I have also read Joan Didion's account of her husband's death (THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING) and the poems of Tess Gallagher on the death of Raymond Carver.
Let me tell you this. Having twice in the last two years cleared out hospital rooms of those final items of clothing and hygiene for parents, I cannot do it again. I cannot contemplate packing up that prosaic pair of pajamas, that used toothbrush, that stick of deodorant, that bathrobe so rarely worn, the slippers with the heel worn down, the cards so hopefully sent, the radio playing songs of Tony Bennett.
JCO's account was one of the saddest pieces of writing I have ever read. And when it comes to it, should it, I will vanish magically from the earth rather than do this again. Three times is too many and someone must clear out my room instead.
I have a friend who reads the obits in the NYT first thing each day. Do you read them? Does an interest in crime mean an interest in death?