One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read more and as a part of that I decided to read the Harry Potter series for the first time. It was an unusual experience for me because I digested it on two levels. The first being the enjoyment of it for the entertainment that is was and the second being an odd glimpse into my mother’s life.
My mother was a HUGE Harry Potter fan. As a teen, I didn’t really get it. I wasn’t sure why she was reading juvenile fiction but it fit in with the other genres of books that she enjoyed (sci-fi and fantasy) so I just kind of shrugged it off. I wish I had taken the time now to ask her more about it… although that could be said for a lot of things that I now wish I could talk to her about.
She was ill for a long time. She suffered for a LONG time. I now think that I understand her affinity for books like these, as they must have been an escape on so many levels. She saw the best in everyone and was a damn fighter. I’ve never met anyone kinder or more determined. As she battled illness after illness she never gave up. I used to joke with her and call her Rasputin because she just.wouldn’t.die. In the worst of circumstances she would rally time and time again and come out on top, much like Harry Potter.
Although I can only guess, I imagine that she saw herself in his character. I think she saw her declining health as some unspeakable evil that she was determined to overcome much like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. She internalized the story so much so, that three months before her death when she had another very close call (and was in an unknown state of consciousness) I heard her whisper “this is weirder than Harry Potter”. Several days later when she was lucid again I asked her about it, but she became visibly shaken and refused to answer me. All she would divulge was that strange things had happened, she had seen death in some form and had refused to look at him/it. She had resisted and come back to us.
In some small way I feel like I know her a little bit better now having read the stories. Although the books are all compelling in their own right, I found myself taking each character’s death a bit harder than I should have (I may or may not have been boo-hooing on an exercise bike at the gym when Dobby died) because I can only imagine what they would have each meant to her.
I only wished she had lived to see the Deathly Hallows be released. She deserved to get that ending. We lost her almost a decade ago at this point, which is hard for me to imagine. It really still feels like I was with her just yesterday. But I guess that’s just how things are with that kind of love. It is always present…