The saga continues…
He is dying. I’m still OK with it. My mom, on the other hand, is falling apart.
On an intellectual level, I understand. The death of a parent must be hard. My mom has a tendency to remember things the way she wishes they happened, so the last 14 years has been filled with wonderful times.
On an emotional level, I just don’t get it. He didn’t just abandon us, he abandoned YOU. His child. He choose a life that didn’t involve you unless you came to him, and then during those visits he still preferred the company of whatever biddy was at his side more than 48 hours with his daughter.
He is old. You got the phone call last week that he wasn’t doing well. You’re an accomplished nurse, you know how these things and the fragile human body work. When you get old, you shut down. When you are dying, sometimes things improve right before they go down hill again. Why are you shocked that a man who has smoked for 75 years is coughing up globs of blood after being told he has blood clots in his lungs?
So a funeral is imminent. Last night’s declaration was hours, maybe a week. You took a late night flight to sit vigil next to him.
Apparently, he has made funeral arrangements in Florida. He has pre-paid for everything and intends to be laid to rest next to the monster. This is his choice, though I doubt he has it spelled out in a will. You are not going to let him choose though, are you? Once he has lost his voice, you will impose your will once last time and have him buried in the cold Chicago air with Grandma.
You are wrong if you do that.
So my choice in the coming days: Do I attend? Do I attend the funeral for a man who died 14 years ago? Do I willingly walk into a room full of tears and mourners when I feel none of these things? Will I be able to hold my tongue if challenged on this lack of sorrow?
I do not know. On any of it.
Will I regret not seeing him again? No. Will I regret the amount of grief my absence will cause my mom? Yes. Will I bend to her wishes on this one last time? I don’t know.