“Abuelita”

March 11, 2014

I’m going to see Richard Shindell perform next week at one of his dates in Cambridge.  For some reason, I have found myself listening to his song “Abuelita” a lot, both before and after I received notification that he would be in town shortly.  I even started to wonder whether he will perform the song in concert.

Then I read Roger Cohen’s piece in the NYTimes “Left Hand Among Bones” last night.

I used to get a ride to New Haven from Boston from time to time with a fellow graduate student who had been a Sister in the Order of the Sacred Heart.  She had spent time working for her order in Argentina.  It came up during our conversations to and from New Haven.  Around that time in my life, discussing the disappeared would not have stood out so much, but now it does.

It’s food for thought.  Finding remnants of past lives, reclaiming missing pieces, trying (or not) to fill in the blanks, even dealing with difficulties associated with the left side of the body — I resonate with all that.

I used to think some of these issues would resolve by the strands coming together in an emotionally satisfying way, but now I think the opposite may be true:  that there is progress in experiencing the strands separately, one by one, in separate contexts — that once they were all tied up together and that that was a disaster.  I think having been able to reconstruct a story from the very distant past in which these elements were all tied up together once has been helpful, though.  Somebody wanted to know what had happened, and without reliving it completely.

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