Everyone's favorite Roman
If I had to pick out my favorite ancient Roman ( and who hasn't done that? ) it would have to be Titus Lucretius Carus, or Lucretius as he's known to his pals.
Now you might have thought I'd have chosen Elagabalus for comedy purposes. Generally considered the most embarrassingly bad Roman Emperor there ever was, Elagabalus proved that just as a broken clock tells the right time twice a day, even a complete imbecile can bring something useful to the world, by inventing the whoopee cushion. ( In a similar fashion that’s how the UK got the Boris bike. )
But no. My favorite ancient Roman is Lucretius, because he was so eloquent and smart. He’s a poet ( but don't hold that against him) and in his work, The Nature Of Things, he states,
“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing each other.”
I like that. I think it’s the clearest depiction of what life is ever.
It's been a strange old week. Everything is on the move: Ferg is now happily ensconced 5000 miles away. Mark and Lachlan and I have been fighting off some lurgy. I opened Storyland in LA, and am getting ready to head 5000 miles to meet Fergus.
Lachlan keeps asking when I'm going - not because he's worried about it (though there's a little part of that) but because in the house turnaround, we’ve decided to swap his bedroom with Mark’s office. This means there's a whole load of stuff to move from one side of the house to the other, and it's been universally agreed, this would be better happening when I'm not physically here.
He's very much looking forward to moving into ‘the apartment’ - so called because his soon-to-be room has its own bathroom, is connected to the laundry room, and has a separate entrance to the kitchen. He's happy because he feels it gives him more independence. I'm happy because it's about as much independence as I want my 16-year-old to have. And Mark’s happy because he hated that office. It's a weird shape for a desk and will be much better with a bed and all Lachlan's stuff.
It's good. It's all progress. But I am a little on the melancholy side.
It's my mother's birthday on Thursday and though she's been gone almost 15 years it doesn't feel that long ago at all. I can hear her opinions on everything that's going on. I know how thrilled she'd be about Fergus, how concerned she'd be about the show: “So, how did it go? When are you bringing it to Cumbernauld” and how much she’d laugh about the machinations of the magnificent force of nature that is Lachlan. She’d worry that I wasn't eating properly/ getting enough rest/ taking care of myself. She’d remind me that everybody always feels better after a haircut.
I hear her in my head like she's here. I consider what she'd think about something when I'm thinking about something. And I'm good.
And then along comes something like a birthday and I remember that she died, and I miss her all over again.
Over 2000 years ago, my wee Roman pal Lucretius talked about the Universe. He said it was made of an infinite amount of atoms ( I know. I'd thought atoms were a modern thing too). He said that they’re small but not infinitely small. And that they're strong in everlasting singleness. That they're impenetrably hard. Indivisible. Unalterable. Eternal.
He said that all things were made of these atoms, and that when a person dies, their atoms would disperse and then make something else. These atoms will always remain contained in the Universe. They may move around but they do not leave. Like the stuff from Lachlan's bedroom moving to Mark's office and vice versa. Everything still exists but in a completely different space and form.
I miss my Mum. Of course I do. I miss her laugh. I miss how it felt to cuddle her when I was small and she was grown, and when I was fully grown and she got small. I miss arguing with her over her weird philosophies, like how cream cakes weren't bad for you and Rock Hudson really did like women.
But as my best wee ancient Roman pal, Lucretius would remind me, she is still here. Indivisible. Eternal. In everlasting singleness. Embracing me. Helping me to fly.
Happy Birthday, Mum
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