I was standing in the kitchen of a house in Boulder, Colorado, staring down at the letter on the counter, but no longer seeing it. The shock-waves in my mind seemed to come from the paper, and my eyes began to see planes of shadows and light, forms without meaning as the photons of sunlight coming through a nearby window rode the waves. They battered me and turned my brain to cellophane.
The letter that had arrived a few minutes earlier in the morning mail was from my mother, and it announced that by the time I got the letter, she would be dead. Dead. My mind careened with live-mother images from the past few weeks, months, years; then dead-mother flashes; I leaned on the counter to support my wobbly legs.