Charles Bernstein

Eulogy (6:00): MP3 (recorded at Riverside, Nov. 2, 2018)

Emma once said to me “You are too hard on grandma.” Her love was unconditional and mine, Emma thought, was grudging. But it is harder to be a son or daughter than a grandchild –– a child’s bonds go so deep you don’t know where they stop and where you start. The only thing negative my mother ever said to me was that I didn’t pay her enough attention (I felt this was fundamental condition –– there could never be enough). But that meant that every time I spoke to her, and she complained I hadn’t called in too long –– would I even notice if she dropped dead? ­––  it was her way of saying she cared about me. She knew what it meant to be a mother more than I knew what it meant to be a son or maybe, like Cordelia, I wanted to see what was there was outside those filial bonds. And my mother understood that it was nothing.

My mother and me in 1954

April 2018