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Remembering the Bones

Remembering the Bones - Frances Itani Georgina has been invited to share the Queen's 80th birthday celebration, since they have shared their birth dates all their lives. Georgina sets off independently from her home in Canada to the airport, and immediately has an accident, which lands her injured in a wooded ravine, minutes from her house. Since her daughter and everyone she knows does not expect her to be home for 10 days, and she is not expected at the Queen's party for several days, no one thinks anything is amiss. Georgina has broken bones, and can barely inch her way through the ravine towards her car on her back in a snail-like fashion, over the course of days. She remembers her life, the bones of the body (she had a fascination with Gray's Anatomy since she was a small child and used to look at her grandfather's copy), and tries to keep herself alive and focused until the rescue that she imagines will happen.At first, I was enchanted. Then at times it dragged a bit. Then another aspect of her life story would pull me in again. So it's not completely even, just as life is not. But the overall effect is a surprisingly rich tapestry of Georgina's life and her family. And her life really has been her family. Georgina has been pulled along by strong characters surrounding her: Grand Dan, her grandmother. Aunt Fred, with Uncle Fred and their four boys. Her sister Ally, an artist from an early age whose subject is snow, even when she moves to Florida -- it's always snow. Case her strong-willed daughter who opens a theater in their smallish Canadian town. The injured men -- her father, who shouts out in his sleep when they are children; her husband with his poor orphan background who develops polio on their wedding day. And her baby Matt who dies suddenly without explanation. "I have never stopped, can never stop asking why. Why give my baby life only to take it away? I can't stop asking because I have thought of him every day since that day, every day of my life. I came to understand that I could not get through even one day without pictures flashing through memory: his fair skin, the light in his hair, his trusting baby self, his fat tummy jiggling in the bathwater, his eyes exchanging a joke with me. I understood -- but it took me a long time to gain this knowledge -- that in order to get through any day, rather than fighting off the images I held in my head, it was better to set aside a time every morning to remember. It did not take away the despair or the anger, the loss or the guilt. It did not take away the love. But it helped me to get out of bed in the morning."And after her husband dies. .."I heard a noise outside the house, and sat up. There was nothing to see inside the room except the living-room furniture. The wind is coming up, I thought. It's begun to blow through the trees. What I heard next happened all at once, a loud but slightly muffled sound. Logic was not part of the sequence. What I heard was the sound of wings beating, many large wings marking time. I thought of the pair of doves that flew to the backyard feeder every day and I said to myself, But this is the sound of hundreds. How can there be so many? Why would wings be beating at night?I thought of Matt and I knew that the sound was not from doves, not from birds of any kind. Was Harry with our son?Call me crazy, go ahead. I'm the one who was sitting upright on the chesterfield when the house was held, momentarily, in embrace. My senses reacted swiftly. I was immensely comforted and did not want the sound to stop. But it did cease, abruptly, and I was sad and let down and relieved all at the same time, even knowing that the sound was lost to me forever."