The subject of death has been on my mind a lot lately. Mulling the inevitable when it comes to my parents, my mother specifically; my uncle’s, whose funeral is Saturday on my daughter’s birthday; my own (hopefully a long, long, LONG ways in the future); and that of a complete stranger, an 8 year old boy who convinced his parents that he was old enough to walk home alone for the first time after his day camp and who will never come home again.
I don’t like to read about death. I certainly don’t like to talk about death. Right now, I can feel the crushing anxiety in my chest from just writing about it. That is why I must write about it. Exorcise what must be my biggest fear in life. The irony, yes?
My mother’s mental decline has been marked. She’s always been a bit “scattered” but now acquaintances pull me aside and ask if she’s OK and that they’ve noticed a change. She was fired from one of her part-time office cleaning jobs of which she had three because she failed to lock the doors, again. In a town of less than a 1,000 residents it wouldn’t have mattered except it was the bank. Her other two employers implore with my brother to convince her to quit/retire because she seems so frail, tired, and frankly, isn’t doing a very good job anymore. He curtly tells them that if she’s not doing the job then they need to fire her.
Easy enough to say, but they know she doesn’t work because she’s in dire need of cash, but because after all the kids left home she became lonely and bored. She even still makes the weekly 30 minute trip to our home to spend a day with her closest grandkids, Doodicus and Aitch. Unfortunately I see that may have to come to an end as well, at least with her being the sole care-giver while Sparring Partner and I are at work. The past couple of times we have arrived home to find Aitch still in her pajamas. Not a big deal, I know, but it would appear that she may also be in the same diaper, completely saturated and even full of poop. Lunch might consist of a couple squares of cheese, a can of soda, and some marshmallows. They are entertained by Nick Jr., movies and video games.
As I posted earlier, she forgot my birthday which was last week. I saw her this Monday and she never even wished me a Happy Birthday. I mentioned this to my sister who is visiting, and she said that when she was running errands with my mom, she told me how they had just bought some birthday cards for a couple of the grandchildren and then she asked my sister if she needed to get birthday cards for the same kids she had just bought cards for.
I mentioned earlier that I’m not just worried about my mom even though she’s who’ve I’ve gone on about, but you will come to realize if you haven’t already, is that I’m justified. I know we have the Circle of Life and all that shit, but this…living death… a body functioning/a mind failing is painful when you think about how many beautiful memories she will never have to tide over her resting soul.
That brings me back to me. Oh, selfish Yo-yo… I see new “freckles” every day and it sometimes feels as if six month check-ups aren’t often enough. I worry, worry, worry, worry, etc. I often imagine the worst: that my skin cancer had actually gone beyond the site on my leg and had been in my system, undetected for years. I won’t see my son finally graduate and learn that all the bullies and bullshit from school wasn’t worth the heartache and stress. I won’t see my daughter grow up and put her devilish smarts to good use.
Even more selfish? I won’t know who looks up to them. Who they will have an impact on? Who will remember them after they are long gone? And who will remember me when I have been gone even longer?
I won’t live forever. I don’t necessarily want to because no one’s mind and body can keep up with the ravages of time. My mother sure as hell doesn’t want to. She’s been imagining herself dead for the past decade with her constant, “Well, next year I won’t even be here,” response to planning family events. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make my heart ache to think about her no longer here. I am grieving over something that hasn’t happened. Wasting precious time, and grieving over that as well! I am in constant fear over something I cannot control. I hate that my fear won’t end until the thing I’m most afraid of happens.