A Memoir of My Mother’s Life in Mine
Ter’ra in’fir’ma, n. 1. Shaky ground. 2. The uneasy shared territory of love and painful separation that defines mother and son. 3. The border between life and death. 4. The precariously emotional place in which we are left after the death of a parent. 5. The mythic terrain a boy passes through on the way to becoming a man. 6. The material from which a writer must craft his story.
“Inside a mother, each of us begins a dream,” writes Rodger Kamenetz. Actually, two: a mother’s dream for her child, and the dream that will become a person. For Kamenetz, crossing the terra infirma–the place where the two collide–was not easy: his mother was a difficult woman who had loved her family with a tyrannical passion. Only as she was losing her battle with cancer at age fifty-four could her son begin to take the essential first step toward becoming a man, thereby fulfilling both of their dreams.
Rich with humor and insight, Terra Infirma is a deeply moving account of one man’s spiritual passage to the firmer ground of maturity and self-understanding.