My mother died yesterday. She had lately discovered that she had colon cancer and that it had metastisized to her pancreas, liver and left lung. She was 82. February 26th was her next birthday. I won't have to worry about what to get her, I guess.
This entry is more about the shock and awe I'm experiencing at how totally alone I am. I had a vague notion that I'm mostly tolerated even by those who purport love and affection, but I truly had no idea. Now, I know, and it's not too wonderful.
I got a call from my sister-in-law at about eight in the A of M. The first sylable she uttered told me what I had to know. I was exhausted after having shopped at Pathmark at four in the morning the night before and after having worked 12 hours straight before that. Further, I had to stop taking Lexapro last week because I simply ran out of money and couldn't afford the prescription. So, I was in possibly the worst place I could be to hear news that was actually bad and that was immutable, not like "you got a parking ticket" bad or "sorry, we're downsizing the department" bad.
It's true that I'd come to a series of healthy intellectual conclusions about my mother's impending demise. She was elderly. She had a aortic aneuyrism that should have killed her two years ago but somehow, it stopped its balooning path and waited. She had bladder cancer that was "cured" with radioactive seeding but cancer is cancer.
The medical fact is that once you have a predisposition to any disease, there's a likelyhood that it will recur in one form or another, if initially "cured." Also, ask any doctor and they'll tell you that cancers of even the most benign variety are never cured, only put to sleep in the form of remission. Only outside parasitical invasions, such as infections borne be contact with animals, carriage via some other vector and so forth can be cured in the sense that those organisms are in a foreign host, namely, the human under attack, and can be killed or asked politely to leave.
So, my mother was slated to die, as we all must, except for those of you out there who are the blood-sucking vampirist night-dwelling undead, and that was a fact. Is a fact, as she's quite stone-cold dead right now, with no resurrection in sight. In my naivete, I thought I would be able to turn to my "friends" for support if I felt I needed it. I also thought that I was ready for her to die. Wrong on both counts.
I didn't exactly fold like an unstarched shirt. My reaction is mostly anger. Yes, I cried and cried with my daughter and almost cried at the funeral "home" when I heard my brother say in a crying, broken voice, "bye, mommie, i love you, my mommie" and it makes me cry now becuase I understand that loss. Mommie is just that always - a confidant, a spy, an encourager and defender, a gatherer and bringer of hot, tasty snacks. I'm glad I told her everything I needed to, even if I thought she might not have listened, but I knew she always heard. So, that's lost. The door is closed. I miss it even though that hasn't been our relationship for thirty years.
Day Two - Reaction and Review
Some hours have passed since I've written this. The reactions I've gotten from "friends" is like so:
Crazed Ex-Wife: "Some people can suffer grief, depression and life-changing events without being abusive." This was a text in response to my not wanting to go out a buy a Christmas tree 24 hours after my mother kicked. I also begged for her to leave me alone. Instead, she called me, taunted me and sent me 40+ text messages over the course of Sunday. Stupid git.
Horny Polack: "Yeah, that's a shame. I'm getting my tires rotated right now (on his 2007 Mercedes SUV) - can I call you next week?" Saved this fucker's life twice. Twice. Yeah, you can call me. Prick.
Neurotic Artist Friend: "Now's not a really good time for me. I'm having a really bad day (which is every other day, by the way and sometimes twice a day, though I'm not sure how that's possible -ed) and I need some space. Not a good time to talk to me." Maybe so, but a good time to reconsider chemical therapy. God.
Brother: " " No, that's not a typo.
C: In essence, "I'm devasted by your devastation, but I'm here for you." And she was. All day, all night, in my car, in the death room, at the Funereal Home, all in spirit, sensing, somehow magically, where I was and what I needed to hear, testing, feeling for the disturbance in The Force. Telling me gentle, funny stories, waiting for me to be composed enough to say the word that choked me. Leaving the door wide open and not waiting. No voice mail. Every text answered with a text. Every call returned. All her words carefully considered, weighed, real. Altruistically, without any sense of obligation - a pure soul, acting out of the best motives. A guardian angel, an artist of the soul, a true friend showing true love. I can never repay her kindness adequately. She alone, though this, is an inspiration. Since she believes in G-d, I have to assert that God should bless her mightily and us humans will do the rest. And die trying. Promise.
M: Thanks for that call back after your complaint. Thanks for making me feel guilty about asking you to talk to me via text and two messages. Yeah, that's not really what I call support. Maybe death frightens you: I know it frightens me. Maybe I frighten you - take heart as you're not the only one. So, I chalk it up to you needing to have even more distance than you've already orchestrated. You got it. Okay - I'm really pissed at you. Hope you can take it in that spirit rather than a total condemnation. I forgive those who know not what they do, being that I'm an arrogant ass and all.
P, R, et al: Your day will come. Lowlifes. "Too bad, but she was old, right?"
Rudi: I hardly know you and you're a work-mate but, next to C, you've been supportive and helpful and real, especially with the painful relation of the stories about your own mother's cancer death. You are a good person and I thank you for checking on me when you really didn't have to.
Shel: You don't read this blog but you've supported me in your angelic way, with hugs, kisses, sobs and tears. You are simply the best and I love you very much. Through you, I've inherited the understanding of the love a parent has for a child and vice versa. I can only hope to be the parent to you that my Mom was to me.
So, the whole point of this blog entry is this: Like Kirk, we all die alone. Sometimes, we live alone, too, except for the few gems that make it not so alone-y. Once you're dead, those who remain may suffer. It is, after all, the human condition.