Chapter Thirteen

If only

In two months, I will be 73 years old and already worlds of eloquence have been lost. Beginning to write this chapter I am looking back to a time when I had just turned 50, to when my son and I had finally spread my mother's ashes in the places where we thought she loved to be. Today his ashes rest inside a box inside a closet in my house waiting for some kind of reconciliation with the earth. Tomorrow will be Memorial Day 2012 and I will remember both his life and his death. He was 43 years old when his time ran out and he left the two people he loved the most behind, his son Cameron and daughter Sierra. In 1989, neither of them had yet been born.

As my fiftieth year began, I was busy in many ways - sponsoring seven women in Recovery and attending meetings and conferences with them, working full-time, and by December celebrating five years clean. During that year, my aunt Marjorie who had outlived my mother and was now 91 was enjoying a brisk art career. In October in San Francisco, the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake struck at 5 pm during warm-up for the World Series between the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants, and we worried briefly about how Ron would fare. That same month I started playing tennis seriously, taking lessons at the Portland Tennis Center.

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