From the New Yorker
ABSTRACT: JOURNAL excerpts by Roland Barthes about mourning his mother, Henriette, who died at eighty-four, in October, 1977.
October 27th Every morning, around six-thirty, in the darkness outside, the metallic racket of the garbage cans. She would say with relief: the night is finally over (she suffered during the night, alone, a cruel business).
October 31st I don’t want to talk about it, for fear of making literature out of it—or without being sure of not doing so—although as a matter of fact literature originates within these truths.
November 5th Sad afternoon. Shopping. Purchase (frivolity) of a tea cake at the bakery. Taking care of the customer ahead of me, the girl behind the counter says Voilà. The expression I used when I brought maman something, when I was taking care of her. Once, toward the end, half-conscious, she repeated, faintly, Voilà “I’m here,” a word we used with each other all our lives). The word spoken by the girl at the bakery brought tears to my eyes. I kept on crying quite a while back in the silent apartment.
November 9th —Less and less to write, to say, except this (which I can tell no one).
November 11th Solitude = having no one at home to whom you can say, I’ll be back at a specific time, or whom you can call to say (or to whom you can just say), Voilà, I’m home now.
April 3rd Despair: the word is too theatrical, a part of the language. A stone.
June 15th Everything began all over again immediately: arrival of manuscripts, requests, people’s stories, each person mercilessly pushing ahead his own little demand (for love, for gratitude): no sooner has she departed than the world deafens me with its continuance.
From Mourning Diary