My Mother’s Clocks

My mother has a large collection of clocks. At least she used to. I know she packed them up and took them out of my childhood home when she sold it and moved into an apartment after my father died, but I don’t know where they are now. Did she sell them? Are they in storage? She has one clock on the wall in the bedroom now. That’s all, besides the clock on the microwave.

The clock collection seemed to appear out of nowhere although of course I’m sure it did not; I was 18 when I moved out of my parent’s house, and although I wasn’t paying attention to much in those days, I think I would remember a large number of clocks ticking away. Some time between those days and my father’s death she accumulated a large collection; I can’t say for sure but I do remember them starting to get more numerous around the time my dad was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, with more and more appearing in the ten years until his death. At his diagnosis he was forced to retire at about 60. At that point I had made my peace with my parents, as much as a wayward child at 30 is able, and fortunately spent a lot of time with them, and especially my dad, during those ten years.

Maybe the clocks were there before, and the increased frequency of my visits caused me to notice them and their proliferation? I do know they were not purchased in one fell swoop, but lovingly collected over time. It is only recently that I asked myself why, and what happened to them?

I wonder-at the time of his diagnosis I don’t think the doctors were very optimistic about his prognosis; I know they remarked many times over those ensuing years how well he was bearing up under a failing heart and sketchy lungs. Maybe the clocks served to remind my mother, or both of them, the precious nature of every minute, of every remaining day together? Could that be why they were packed away for the move, never to hang on my mother’s walls again?

There’s more I could say here; about time, about death, but I think I will leave it alone. I may never know what happened to the clocks; but then, I will probably never ask about them. Another hidden aspect of the complicated relationship between two complicated women.

All I really need to know is that my parents were the loves of each other’s lives; destined to be together, and I am, and always will be, theirs.


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