Kage Baker: born June 10, 1952. Died January 31, 2010, at 1:15 AM.
I sat up last night and watched the three clocks in sight of my desk all tick past the 1:15 mark. The old brass wind up I keep just for the ticking; and the clock on my computer is there for efficiency. On the wall there is a blue Kit Kat Clock, which Kage gave me for my birthday 3 years ago – rolling eyes and pendulum tail and all, it’s my main clock.
When they had all passed the 1:15 point, I shut things down and went to bed. And slept and slept and slept … I’ve slept through most of today, too. I don’t know if I’m indulging my incision or hiding out, and I don’t really care: right now, sleep is my friend. And it’s such an elusive critter, I’m gonna let it curl up on me for as long as it wants.
Kage always said it was unhealthy to mark death dates. She swore she never did it, either; though I know she never forgot them. She got silent on the anniversaries of mortality. She told me not to memorialize hers, too – I told her the only way she could enforce that was not to die.
“Oh, screw you!” was the not-unexpected reply. “If you do something stupid, I’ll haunt you.”
But she hasn’t. So I must not be doing anything especially dumb yet. Anyway, remembering her death date is not something I can control, anymore than my Kit Kat can help rolling her eyes as her tail wags.
Supposedly, you can look forward to spending a month grieving for every year of your relationship with someone who has died. Even if I date our relationship from the time our collaboration developed – in early adolescence – I’m looking at something like 4 years mourning. Though I’d like to know who calculates this stuff … it’s shows up in all the books and web sites about loss, but there’s no indication of who established the parameters.
Or how. I have visions of some unhappy person getting a monthly phone call from researchers, always asking “Hey, do you feel better yet?” And one day they can’t stand it anymore and lie, just to get rid of the caller. Who then writes his paper, and that particular info nugget gets immortalized and passed around …somebody ought to sic Snopes on this crap.
What a crock. I’m halfway through the projected mourning period now, and I am not down to half the grief I felt that morning two years ago. And I do believe I am angrier than I was then, besides. I think … it’s going to be quite a few more years with me and Miss Kit Kat in the post-midnight hours.