I thought I had an idea for a post, but it turned out to be a fluke. It’s nearly always a fluke. I start with an idea, but the ideas are always fleeting and I’m rarely ever capable of revisiting whatever spawned a post. In fact, I find myself rambling every single time, whether that was ever my intention or not. This in fact is a great example, it’s just a rant about how I rant. How meta is that?
Life has been exciting for the last few years. Things have been wonderful. That’s not to say life has dodged the usual ups and downs required for existence, that’s not true at all. But the lows have been manageable and the highs have been incredible. To gauge my life since meeting my wife would be to say that life has, on balance, been absolutely spectacular. She’s an incredible wife and a wonderful mother, and all because at her core she’s a wonderful and beautiful human. I’m grateful to be her partner, and I can’t imagine my life without her.
Writing will always be my first order therapy. It’s therapeutic in ways nothing else has ever been. Ever since I was a child, when I had assignments to journal and track life events or just random thoughts; I’ve always found tremendous benefit in writing. I maintain this absolute kludge of a web presence because it has never failed to allow me to de-tangle the mess that is my mind. I can reflect and meditate on difficult life events in a way that allows me to containerize and give context to challenges, rather than allow them to commandeer my mind when otherwise it should be lent to tasks at hand.
My aunt passed away today. She wasn’t elderly. She’s also the third sibling of my mother to pass away in the last decade. I used to worry that my mom’s habits would pluck her from my life prematurely, what with how much she has chain-smoked for the last nearly fifty years. Now I have to watch my mother deal with these excessive losses. They’re only made harder by the passing of my grandparents in the same time frame.
Death is a hell of a thing to digest. For as long as you remember there are these people in your life, codified as a pillar of it, supporting and caring about you as an individual in some way. Aunts, uncles, siblings, parents; a tribe of people sharing blood or marriages and always available to you when you need them, until they aren’t. Until a fatal accident or medical complication rips them out of the world of the living. We gather the remainders to solemnly remember the one being interred forever, saying sweet things about them while consoling one another. We grieve, sometimes we laugh, we share memories and pictures, and then we say our final goodbyes.
One day it will be my mother. The thing that scares me most is that I won’t have much to say. I know she loves me, but I don’t know my mom. She’s a product of a far stranger generation than mine. If you were to ask me about my mom, I’d truthfully tell you that she’s the person who gave birth to me. I’d tell you that I remember her sitting at the kitchen table, dragging slowly at a cigarette, and staring blankly in whatever direction she’s facing. That’s what I know about my mom. To my knowledge she worked as a waitress for a few months before I was born. After I was born, my grandparents employed her a secretary at their business. When their business went under, she just stayed home. My stepdad would be the breadwinner and my mom would care for my sister. That’s everything I know about my mom. I’m not sure if that’s sad. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who has an experience similar to this. I’m not necessarily saddened by this, I don’t know anything else. I suppose if I had any inclination of vision of what could be, I could be sad about what is.
It’s just an odd notion. I know as much about my mom as I know about my dad. My dad died in a drunk driving incident when I was seven or eight. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and had kicked back most of a bottle of bourbon. He wasn’t a strong man. He was very prone to the depression that encompassed almost all of what he produced in letters and art. His legacy of depression found me and impacted my life in many deleterious ways. I don’t believe depression is entirely inherited, but I know statistically that a parent with depression increases the odds of producing children with depression. The sins of the father. I don’t remember what my dad’s voice was like. I have an impression in my mind about what he looked like, but only from photographs. I don’t remember what it was like to be around him. I don’t remember ever conversing with him. The stories I’ve been told about him have never been flattering. He wasn’t a smart man. He was humorous, though, and perhaps that’s something I’ve inherited somehow. I don’t really know.
I don’t know how to learn more about my mother. I’m not even sure if there’s more to learn. What were her dreams? Did she ever really have any, or did the life she’s lived and her dreams reach parity at some point? If she could’ve changed anything about her life, what would it have been? What does she think about from day to day? I don’t really talk to her, I don’t know how to. She’s even less approachable than I am. I know that I will regret being so far removed from her when she does die one day, but I have no idea how to fix it, or if it can be fixed. I do know when it broke, though. I was very young, already wayward, drinking and smoking weed. I had tried ecstasy and LSD by that point, and had no regrets about my dalliances. I had grand plans to explore the world and have as much fun as possible and those plans didn’t fit into the plans she had for me. We were at odds about my future. Sure, my life would’ve had an incredibly different trajectory if I had just participated rather than checking out, but it wasn’t an option for me.
I don’t know. I miss my mom, before I was a teenager. I could feel loved, and didn’t have to assume it. I miss being able to connect with her even as modestly as we were able to, which wasn’t really great- albeit better than the nothing we currently share. We are strangers who share DNA. I can’t assign blame anywhere. We’re both incredibly stubborn people. Honestly I think she knows less than I do about how to connect with other people, and I absolutely didn’t learn how from her. Maybe we’re both on the spectrum. I don’t know. I don’t even really care to analyze it, I just wouldn’t mind changing it, if it’s even possible anymore.
I’ve had so much of my life to reflect upon death. From my dad dying to missing saying goodbye to my father’s mother in the hospital. I have regrets. I just feel powerless to prevent future regret.