Wednesday, January 29, 2014
2008 Bathory, and Grief
I lost my mother suddenly 6 years ago on this day. We had no warning, and she just left us. It was always the three of us, my mom, me, and my dad, in succession, our two little dogs. It is cliché to say she was my best friend, but I think she was. We had terrible disagreements, but we were also frighteningly alike. She encouraged everything I did, and bought me graphic novels of Anne Rice's books, and voodoo dolls from Marie Leveau's house of Voodoo in New Orleans. When I was writing my dissertation, she dint flinch about buying me The Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom and other Writings. Bathory was released in 2008. It is the fairest, and perhaps, most sympathetic film about Erzebet. My mother supported my research about her, too. She helped me sew the dress for the mixed media collage I did for her in a 9th grade health report [I got an A]. For that project, she also helped me make a black wig from my vampire costume, and she took me to the library and helped with the small change to make Xerox copies of pictures for posters and props. It was my mom who gave me my first cope of Edgar Allan Poe's complete works. She was fond of him, though she didn't like horror in general. When she was a graduate student, she and her friend set out to find his house one night. They walked in the dark to Skid Row before they came upon it. Because of her, I love Halloween. She helped me to decorate the picture window, often with cutouts we made, and she sewed most of my costumes, including a fantastic black tunic with appliqued cats that served as a witch outfit, vampire outfit, and Morgan le Fey outfit for a Medieval Banquet. She loved books, and never threw one away. I don't, either. She took me to library sales and stocked up on all kinds of references for my reports in school, which were really hand compiled books on various subjects, and she let me use her typewriter to type up my paper on Macbeth in 10th grade. My mother loved Sappho, and the piano. She loved Christmas, and wrapping presents, and she was a great cook, though she'd rather go out. She was often lonely, and she suffered terrible grief when her baby brother was killed at 30, when her other brother died at only 52, when she lost her parents. She was their golden child in many ways, and she had been separated from them for awhile, living in Europe with my dad. She taught Spanish, but also French, Latin, and History. She showed me how to knit, and needlepoint, and taught me to love collage. I remember a field of daisies we did for Kindergarten, with ribbons, and pretty wrapping paper. She made an Easter tree for me out of a twig, and we made egg ornaments together and dyed them. I frustrated her in my home ec projects, but she helped me make a terrific little Hollie Hobby Apron. She forgave people easily, even when they hurt her, but she was fierce if you crossed her. She could play the part of the innocent little old lady deceptively, but I saw her pounce on people who were rude and disrespectful to her with no compunction. Good for her. She had academic honor after fellowship after honor society, but was modest. She didn't want me to marry, especially in the controversial situation I found myself in, but she came around. My dad never did. She was proud of me, and loved me. we went out driving to look at pretty houses, and she would pick me up after school from the babysitter's for adventures. We went to Marie's Party Shop for craft supplies, to Woolworth's for goldfish,, to Mr. Quick and later McDonalds for cokes and burgers. Sometimes, she had a snack with her, strawberry Shasta and cream cheese and chive dip with chips, in the car. She took me to swimming lessons, taking a cab when we didn't have two cars. She intercede for me with bullies and nasty teachers. She went with me to antique shows, though she hated old things, and then would go there and to doll shows on her own when I was in school. It broke my heart to see her cry, though I could be stubborn and never told her. I loved her clothes, and her gold charms, and her subtle make up. I always borrowed them, and wore her wedding shoes often for special days. She never complained, but shared everything with me. She loved me and my dad, but her talents could have taken her further, and I think she was often frustrated. She was fair, and could have compassion even for an Andrea Yates or a Susan Smith. She suffered under the Fascists, Nazis, and Communists in World War II, and American child stuck in Europe on a vacation that was only supposed to be for the summer, but lasted for 8 years. She never complained, or blamed anyone. She had a lot of courage, and was there to choose coffins for her brothers and her parents when no one else could stand to do it. Then, she only had me to try to do what she wanted, at a funeral that was never suppose to happen on a cold, snowy day. Now, I am a grown woman, with a family of her own. My husband is a wonderful man, and I am grateful to have my dad, my friends, those left from my extended family. Yet, I often feel so lonely, and so isolated. I go the cemetery and stand at her grave, and feel some sort of connection, that this world can't be conclusion, as Emily Dickinson wrote. I am with her when I see the dolls we restored; when she died I found unfinished crocheted doll clothes with her things. I hear her when I try to make her recipes. It isn't the same. I can never accept that I won't see her again. Sometimes, I think of Erzebet, alone in the tower. Denied her children, her husband and parents dead, no one to talk to accept her jailor. If nothing else, that alone prompts me to look more into her story. Besides, I know my mom would have approved.