Monday, after going out to lunch with my parents, my mother made a trek over to her best friend’s house to see her. Unfortunately, my mother stumbled upon tragedy when she discovered her friend had died sometime in the previous 24 hours. More unfortunate was that my mother was the one to find her.
They had been friends for over 30 years – and she was just one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. And while she seemingly passed away peacefully, and regardless of how it happened, I know it was a shock to my mother – as this person was almost 20 years my mother’s junior. Nothing expected.
There was the calling of emergency services, so to speak. There was the need to tell her sons and her estranged sister. But it is the image of her sitting there in a hammock chair that my mother cannot get over.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about death. When all added it up, it probably totals months and months. I don’t think I’m a horribly morbid person, but my mind wanders to it, especially was we get older. I find myself noticing the ages on the obituary page. I’ve made a deal with myself that I get to go first – as to be abandoned in this relationship, left behind, would ironically, kill me. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night.
What? Too much of a downer?
I wish I could lighten the scene and tell you some of the conversation my mother had with her friend’s sister. To say it was surreal would be selling it short. But I’ve tried to draft it, and nothing comes out right. I would say it was shocking at first – and then laughable. To the point I had to make some snide retort, which at least got my mother laughing.
Later in the day, Iris DeMent’s “My Life” popped up on my iPod. There is a portion of it I always cherish – and if nothing else, speaks to me – and hopefully to other about me:
I gave joy to my mother.
I made my lover smile.
I can give comfort to my friends when they’re hurting.
I can make it seem better for a while.
Song by: Aimee Mann