It would be an extraordinary day if I did not spend a healthy portion of it trying to locate my keys, my work necessities, my phone–and occasionally my vehicle itself.
(I’ve noticed a commonplace linguistic device of referring to widows and widowers as having “lost” a spouse, as if there were a possibility of recovering him or her again.)
People lose many things.
I try never to lose track of my masterpieces, however.
I realize I can only take credit for half of each, biologically speaking, but I hope it is a rarity for parents not to think of their children as their greatest accomplishment.
Children can of course beget countless other masterworks: in good deeds, in loving relationships of all kinds and families of their own, in mathematics and engineering, in written words and artwork.
Speaking of artistic masterpieces, my mother once lost a Jackson Pollock painting, to which she had contributed half. As far as I know, no record exists of this painting. You will not find it in any museum or catalogue. It is not missing in the sense that Rembrandt and Vermeer have left the Isabella Stewart Gardner building; it has gone, gone away. Ploof. Only my mother has a visual memory of it. She is the only one who could take a stab at drafting its card for the empty walls of the Museum of Lost Objects:
“In the Museum of Lost Objects,” wrote Rebecca Lindenberg:
I think part of the acute pain for those who grieve a death out of the order of things–a child, a young friend or sibling, a spouse who had much more to give in a life and career he loved–is for the absence of possibility of more masterpieces, no matter how fleeting, no matter whether others ever see or know of them.
All in all, though, I think our family has found many more masterpieces than it has lost.