South Africa: Mourning During COVID-19 - My Mother Is Not a Universal


My mother is not a universal. My mother was always a particular. And like all particulars she was destined to originate, to exist imperfectly, and to perish. To be mortal and forgettable. It is this cursed forgettability, not a virus, that so many are battling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

My mother died yesterday. Not of Covid-19, but of a host of physiological events that resulted from living for 69 years. She died because she'd become a smaller, frailer, more vulnerable mammal.

The astute reader with some experience of human finitude will diagnose this piece as a desperate attempt to turn my mother into a universal. It is a common symptom of mourning, I imagine, to seek and insist upon immortality for those we love but who suddenly cease to be. Thinking in universals also dampens the pain of the particular.

Perhaps, then, if I write this right, just right, and if enough people read it and recognise their mothers and their mourning in it, then my mother will continue existing in a different form and will receive what humanity and the universe owes her.

She may no longer direct her thoughts on the world or on her children. She may...

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.