Just before, and at a cellular level

by Kate Hammer, commercial storyteller

I find I need to imagine what happened, inside my mother’s brain. What happened, that took her from us. This is what I imagine.

Just before, at a cellular level:

The silence when the devastation registers. Our interchange has collapsed.

Photo credit: Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake October 17, 1989. Oakland. Support column failure and collapsed upper deck on the Cypress viaduct of Interstate 880. Slide III-5, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-547.

Photo credit: Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake October 17, 1989. Oakland. Support column failure and collapsed upper deck on the Cypress viaduct of Interstate 880. Slide III-5, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-547.

Without wanting to, I see myself at the brink of each site’s epicentre, hearing the resounding silence that must follow the WORST. All the cuts the silence is a tiny, tinny “oh shit” – a paltry, inadequate phrase because what’s just happened is too enormous, too complex, too enduring for mere words.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge falling into the Puget Sound (1940)

Tacoma Narrows Bridge falling into the Puget Sound (1940)

Tsunami.

Admitting that this is what I see is costly. With the admission comes recrimination. “Those losses were greater than yours. Get over it.” I resist. This isn’t quantitative. An unexpected and irrevocable loss after which I cannot be as I was. A mother is irreplaceable, unique. I was nowhere near the point of thinking my mother might be in jeopardy.

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