In Blue Nights, author Joan Didion attempts to address the relationship with her adopted daughter (and only child) as well as the latter’s passing in 2005. It was also in 2005 that Didion’s first book, The Year of Magical Thinking, was published. In that tome, Didion discussed and dealt with the death of her husband.
It’s some pretty heavy stuff this young lady is reading. I hesitated posting about this book, given that we are in the midst of the holidays. But for me, and I imagine for many of you out there who have also lost close family members, the holidays bring a certain sadness. I enjoy the holidays, and the love and cheer that I share with those I am lucky enough to have around me, but it will always be enjoyed as a layer on top of a Higgs field of nostalgia.
“We all survive more than we think we can,” Didion says of living on after the deaths of her loved ones. “We imagine things — that we wouldn’t be able to survive, but in fact, we do survive. … We have no choice, so we do it.”
I would just add that I think we do more than just survive. We learn to cherish our memories, but (need to) learn to love the new and the different. So it is on that note that I am going to go home and spend Christmas with my mother and her new boyfriend WITH AN OPEN MIND AND/OR OPEN BOTTLE OF WINE.