3 min read

One Tuesday morning a few weeks ago, I had a dream or a visitation. It happened like this.

My father

My father woke me from a sound sleep.

Well, it was more like I was asleep and then I was awake looking at a young man. I took in the site of him all at once. His hair was long on top and hanging in his face. He wore white Converse All-Stars, clean, pressed blue-jeans, and a blue T-shirt.

I realized two things at the same time:

1. This was my father, and

2. I am probably the only living person who would recognize him as a teenager.

"Something horrible has happened," the young man said.

"Dad?" I whispered so as not to wake my husband or the eagle ears of the two plotthounds next to the bed. "What happened?"

"Your mother is very dying," he said.

"Is that really horrible?" I asked.

He smirked, but nodded. I tried to think of something else to say, but nothing came.

He gave me a kind of bow and disappeared.

I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling. My sisters aren't speaking to me, so I couldn't call them to find out what was going on. I haven't spoken with my mother in over 30 years (also her choice.)

I went back to sleep.

Now, I should say that after the spine surgery, my brain is pretty scrambled. This time, because of a damaged nerve, I'm taking these crazy meds make me forget things including words.

I didn't think about my father, his white Chuckies, and the thing I never saw while he was alive -- his hair hanging in his face --  until later that day.

My eldest sister sent me an email to tell me that my mother had died early that morning.

So that's that.

I'd always said that I wanted to see her body in the box to make sure that she was actually gone. But in the age of Covid-19, there are not funerals. There's no way for me to know for sure if it was actually her.

How do I feel?

Kind of flat.

I don't know whether she was dead to me when she disowned me when I was 17 years old, or told me that I was not her child, or lied to everyone in my extended family so that they wouldn't speak to me or when she passed me off to my grandfather so that he would have some use for her or when she was abuse and cruel or when she stabbed me when I was about six months old or when she started telling people that she only had one child (not four) or having to lie to everyone all the time that she wasn't completely nuts or...

If I were a client in therapy, I would say: "Losing a parent always brings up your fantasy of what the parent should have been."

But I don't have a fantasy about a mother. In fact, when I see people talk about mothers, I have no idea what they are talking about.

You cannot miss what you never had.

I assume that she left a will. She had a lot of money and would want to control where it went.

She hated me upon my birth. I imagine that she hated me upon her death.

I am bracing myself for her last cruel act.

Yesterday, there was a box on our porch labeled "glass, fragile."  I knew that I hadn't ordered anything that was glass. (My husband doesn't shop.)

I had a panic attack.

I fell back into a chair by the door and tried to catch my breath. My husband brought the box inside. The box was mislabeled. It was 25 pounds of garbanzo beans.

No tricks. Just something we eat.

Maybe she'll forget me, leave me out. Give her riches to her "only child" -- my eldest sister or as someone defined her for me "the doctor."

But would that be cruel enough for her?

Likely not.

My mother is dead; long live my mother.