I woke up way too early again thinking, “Bernice?”
After Brother David called the night before last to say Joan had died I couldn’t sleep for a bit and while I was lying there it came to me out of nowhere that I didn’t know Joan’s mother’s first name. I knew I had asked Joan once, “What is your mother’s first name?” and she told me, but I couldn’t remember. I never met Joan’s mother; she died in 1934 as I figure it of breast cancer. And when Joan spoke of her mother, she always called her “mama.”
I guess my unconscious was working on something because late yesterday I get a call from Brother Steve asking me if I knew Joan’s mother’s first name because they ask for that information on the death certificate. I said I didn’t. And then Brother Dave called asking me the same thing.
What the hell is a death certificate. Whose business is it anyway? Apparently though one has to be filled out before a cremation.
But I went home and tried to plow through the papers and pictures I have and couldn’t find a thing, and tried also to find the phone number of Joan’s one and only friend whom she had known since HS. But her last name is Smith. Try finding anybody named Smith.
So I went to bed thinking “Elizabeth.” But was pretty sure I was getting Joan’s mother confused with Elizabeth Barret Browning. And then I thought “Anne” but I am pretty sure that was the name of our little sister who died before she was two weeks old.
This was all sort of funny in an odd way because the logical person to ask what her mother’s name was no longer available for questioning. Is this what is called “missing somebody.”
On the back of the above, Joan wrote: "This was one of mother’s favorite pictures of me. I was 8 years old then."