Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Aimless Reading: The L's, Part 7.3 (D.H. Lawrence)

Lawrence, D.H.
Lady Chatterley's Lover

This book belongs to Lori. I am moderately embarrassed to say I haven't read it, mostly because of its notoriety.

I realized late yesterday afternoon that it was the fourteenth anniversary of my father's death. I almost always forget the date, I guess because it's such a painful memory. It is made more painful by the fact that what reminds of his death each year is that November 22 also happens to be the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

Yesterday, I kept seeing references to the assassination popping up on news sites and so forth, but it took me a while to realize why I was seeing them. It then took several more hours for me to remember the convergence of the two anniversaries.

My father died on November 22, 1996 at Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. He'd gone in for what they told him was a routine preventative operation to scrape plaque out of the carotid artery in order to reduce what they told him was a great risk of a stroke.

My mother was told that the surgery had been successful, but then he didn't wake up from the anesthesia. After a few hours had passed, they wheeled him back in for an MRI and discovered he'd had a massive stroke at some point after the operation.

Later in the afternoon, at my parent's house, after we had made the decision to let him pass away, it was my mother who noted the link between the two dates. She asked if Kennedy had died on November 22 or 24. I told her November 22 was the correct date.

She said, "Hmm," as if she were measuring the significance of the coincidence inside her head. I think it meant something to her, though I am not sure what.

I probably forget the anniversary every year at least in part as a means to protect myself from thinking about my father's death while viewing the endlessly repeating image of Kennedy's head exploding in the back seat of the limo. But then there it is. Again. And again. And again.

from Lady Chatterley's Lover

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.

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