Daily Archives: December 5, 2011

At The End of This Tunnel There Is No Light


“What the hell??” My uncle shouted down the basement stairs to my aunt. 


He trotted down the stairs and around the corner to where my aunt had kept her ceramics inventory for many years.  

There stood my aunt, smashing greenware by throwing it into a large trash can.

She was crying.

“Stop!” he shouted.

She paused in mid-toss to stare at him.

“Why are you smashing all these ceramic pieces?”

My aunt didn’t answer.  Instead she sat down on the floor and sobbed.

Uncle looked around the room.  Every shelf was lined with ceramic greenware, paints, tools, and assorted gadgets that make up the ceramic enthusiast’s collection.  In the corner, a kiln stood silent and cold.  What had once been a small classroom and studio was now silent; and for her growing darker every day.

“Honey, it’s okay.” he gently said, stroking her hair.

“It seems so unfair.” She sobbed.

And, indeed it was unfair.  She’d beaten cancer – twice – had survived chemo and surgery and all manner of poking, prodding, and hair loss.   He thought it kinda funny that after all that she’d been a rock, but soon after finding out she had macular degeneration she completely crumpled.

Aunt stood up and brushed the clay dust off her hands.  She left the room without looking back.

Later that summer I went to visit.  She asked me if I wanted any of her stuff.

I took all we could carry from Missouri to Texas, and over the course of the next few years I finished many of the pieces and then time and tide took their toll and the unfinished items were shuffled to a corner of the garage.

During a recent cleaning I found them again and am going to re-start this hobby now that we’ve made the garage into another room.   I’ve even found a local studio that will let me bring my pieces in and work on them there if I want.  They will then fire the finished product and store it for me if necessary.

I still see her every year, but Aunt doesn’t ask about the ceramics and I don’t bring it up. 

Some losses can’t be measured, only endured.