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The Unmothered

Sunday, 8 May, 2016

Given that our blog is called Rainy Day, we’re adding malkosh to our vocabulary of raindrops and teardrops. Backgrounder:

“I always thought that literature’s draw lay in making me identify with people and situations that were as different from my lived experience as possible. But my mother’s death changed that. It made me seek out my own kind — the left-behind and the heartbroken. The unmothered.”

So writes Ruth Margalit in a New Yorker essay titled The Unmothered. To express the immense sense of loss she feels without her mother, Margalit calls ups the Hebrew word malkosh, which means “last rain,” and which can only be applied in retrospect:

“When it’s raining, you have no way of knowing that the falling drops would be the last ones of the year. But then time goes by, the clouds clear, and you realize that that rain shower was the one. Having a mother — being mothered — is similar, in a way. It’s a term that I only fully grasp now, with the thirst of hindsight: who she was, who I was for her, what she has equipped me with.

Like a last rain, my mother left behind an earthy scent that lingered long after she was gone. Like a last rain, for a fleeting moment, everything she touched seemed to glow.”

Rain and tears


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