My mother died. I’m supposed to say it more gently; I’m supposed to say she’s passed or passed away, or something less offensive to the senses. I’m supposed to be more considerate, compassionate. I’ve never really been very good at doing what I’m supposed to do.
Don’t take me to a car show or museum; all the “please don’t touch” signs encourage me to leave fingerprints under fenders and on marble statues. Tell me not to watch a movie because it’s terrible and it’s the next one I see. Ban a book and I put it on hold. Forbid a fruit and I make fruit salad.
I’m also supposed to go easy on myself. I wasn’t there when she “went.” I was 1300 miles away, putting off packing to get on the plane to be there when she “passed.” Not a big fan of the dead and dying. Not a funeral goer. Don’t go to memorials or celebrations of life.
Now that I think about it, it’s not the dead I’m uncomfortable around, it’s their living. All that….that….that… grief. So condensed and inescapable. So dramatic. So inconsolable. And I have no idea how to respond to so much emotion in so small of a space. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to say besides “Thank you” when someone says “I’m sorry to hear about your mother.”
I probably should have asked her before she left…