it focuses the mind.
In 1993, I became ‘officially’ an orphan. This my brother cheerfully announced when he called with the news of mother’s death. It realized that with the death of the second parent you have now moved into the green room to the “End Game”. Parental mortality, no matter how much you think you are prepared, when it comes, it comes as a punch, hard, and unrehearsed.
I don’t do funerals! Not since, at age six, I was made to kiss the icy face of one grand-grandmother decked-out and lying in state. That encounter has prejudiced me to all rituals of departure. I still reel to the point of nausea when encountering the smell of Lilies.
To say that I had a relationship with my parents would be fantasy. Mother was great at giving birth. It was the after birth program my parents had difficulty with. Therefore, there was none.
I shared a close relationship with my grandparents, but mother in her infinite wisdom, thought this to be not appropriate company for an eight year old, and I was sent-off to boarding school.
Me, feeling abandoned, you think? I did what was the going thing in the ‘60’s and enjoyed the garden of herbal and pharmacological delights.
After Dad’s sudden death, and my bother Max’ fatal accident only three month later, was the only time Mom ever called for me, and I rushed home. With a beatific smile, she looked at me and said:”I would have done the same for you.” No Mom, you would not. Never, but once. When I was diagnosed with MS, mother rushed to my side. Only to announce later, that she had felt guilty having passed on a defective gene. That was Mom. Charles adored her; she was the polar opposite to his mother.
Our parents possessed the lowest threshold for boredom of anyone I ever knew, and most mandatory social occasions resulted in some never–to- be-forgotten climaxes. Dad had more diplomacy, but Mom, well Mum’s the word.
So, most of our lives’ milestones we celebrated without our parents-
Arrival & departures, “Was it today you were coming/leaving”?
Hospitals, “Best not to intrude”.
Graduations, “We thought you already had made other plans”.
Marriages, “Discreet is best”.
Divorces, “So distasteful”.
Widowhood, mine, by then both had shuffled of this mortal coil.
I shared this with friends, and their reaction;
”Boy, how lucky can you get”?
Ergo, the title of this post.