Me and Death in the School Parking Lot, 3pm.
Oh, how we would fight. A gruesome battle, I’d tell him to drop his weapon and fight me like a human! But you know I would fight dirty. There would be hair pulled, should he have hair. I would punch him so hard in the nose that I wouldn’t even notice my broken hand bones, only his shattered skull-face staring back at me with hollow eyes. Then I’d kick him in his metaphorical balls.
I haven’t had therapy in a month, guys.
To say that I am not constantly thinking about death would be an obvious lie, given that my mother has been practically catatonic for several months now. But over the weekend, something happened that made me even more angry with the entire concept of death. First, some backstory.
Early in our years together, Mark brought me home to meet his mother for the first time. While we were in town, we visited his sister Dawn and her family. I met her son Connor, who was maybe 8 or so at the time, and her daughter Bella, who was still a baby. Connor and I bonded when he taught me how to play zombies on Call of Duty. He was an incredibly sweet little boy with the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. That was the first time I met him, and also the last. Shortly after our visit, his parents split, and Connor chose to stay with his father. Mark was always a little sad about this, because Connor was extra special to him. He just so happened to have been born the same day as M. Mark told me that the moms-to-be were in a race; he’s pretty sure Dawn won. But because of this, he always thought of Connor on M’s birthday.
So, Sunday morning I went to work, and as I was opening the shop, Mark called me. He was crying, and I immediately thought my mother was dead. Rational brain took over, telling me that it was unlikely I would get this call from my husband and not my father. I begged him to tell me what happened, and he told me that Connor had been killed in an accident. I called my boss, and he came in to relieve me. When I got home, I found a devastated husband. I cried with him, mostly because this boy was just a boy. Mostly, because he’s the same age as one of my boys. Mostly, because of his mother Dawn, who does not deserve this pain.
Later, Mark was sleeping, and I cried again. But this time, I was crying because it’s not fair. It is not fair that a teenage boy departed this world, while my mother is lying in a hospital bed clinging to life. I love my mother, I miss my mother, and I want my mother to get better. But I also know, and have to face every day, that she is currently living my worst nightmare. I wouldn’t wish what she is going through on anyone, absolute least of all her. There are many times that I wish she just never woke up that morning I found her. It seems that would be more fair. And I don’t think I could confront that fact until this weekend.
A lot of my friends and family read my blog, and they all know my mother very well, and I’m sure they’re all sobbing right now. And I’m sorry, truly, for bringing a spot of sadness into your day. But, it needn’t be sad. This morning I told my father were going to have Christmas, if for no other reason then Maureen would simply kill us if we did not. He can’t imagine a Christmas without Mom, none of us can, but we’re going to do what I told him we’re going to do: we’re going to be sad. But, we’re also going to find little bits to make us happy. And it’s going to work! Do you know how I know? Because when my aunt Ka died, that is exactly what my mother told me to do…find the silver linings, and all the little joys.
So, I’m going to get a team together to decorate my dad’s house for Christmas. I’m going to take my girls over there to make cut-out cookies the same way I would every other year. We’re going to go to my grandma’s on Christmas Eve and spend it with the family, and even though somebody is going to cry, we’re still going to eat and drink and be merry. We are going to open presents on Christmas Day, and there’s a real good chance I’m going to cook a ham.
I do not care if I am sad 99% of the time- I will remind myself of what my mother reminds me constantly, the best compliment she has ever given: I am the strongest woman she knows. That’s how come I can beat up that schoolyard bully called Death.