I miss my mother. I felt trapped by her. As I mentioned before, I had good reason not to feel terribly tender thoughts for her, and yet I took exquisite, loving care of her. Never realizing that I actually loved her after all. And now I miss her. I keep thinking I need to call her, or that she’s coming over for dinner, or that I need to ask her something. Who would have thought it?
Mini-me never had to deal with my mother’s craziness. Don’t think she ever saw it, which was one good thing. She had wonderful times with her: together they traveled England and Europe twice, once when she was sixteen and then when she was in her late twenties. That was one good thing about her not getting back to see my mother before she died. My mother was once more out of control, and it was good Mini-me didn’t have to see it.
Mini-me lost the brother she’d grown up with when she was 20. He drowned when his car went into the Delaware Canal. She lost her darling Uncle Dougal (only good uncle she had) about a week after her engagement party. She lost her adopted-away half sister, Jill, right before her birthday a couple of years later. For many many years her birthday was forever associated with the death of a sister she had just found.
But Mini-me is an extraordinary creature. She survives. She adapts. She moved to England, went to school (with Damien Lewis and Joseph Fiennes) and got her degree in stage managing. She toured England with operas and musicals. She married a lighting designer over there, got burned out (not by her husband ;> ) and went to work for Virgin Atlantic, which was great, taking my daughter and me to Tokyo, England and Venice. Then, when her husband got burned out they left England and moved to Lake Tahoe to become ski instructors, because, as she said, she could be happy anywhere and that was what put the light back in her husband’s eyes. Really, she’s an extraordinary person.
So after all that sorrow, all that adaptability, what happens? Her mother dies when she’s only 64. Leaving her with not just terrible grief, but the biggest physical and financial mess you can imagine.
As icing on the cake, just as Mini-me felt like she could get her birthday back after years of associating it with her sister’s death. So in honor of this totally shitty year, in which she lost her beloved grandmother, her father-in-law, dying slowly and painfully of bladder cancer, dies on the morning of her birthday.
I told her she should do what I did when my sister died a week before my birthday. Just stop celebrating it for a while. And therefore, don’t age that year. By those standards I’m in my late fifties (except then it comes to Medicare, which I will embrace with passionate enthusiasm).
So Mini-me, after three cross-country trips to VT this summer, now has to make her second trip to England with her husband tomorrow. She’ll go to Peter’s service on Friday, then fly out and arrive in NJ to go to her grandmother’s service, most of which she arranged and even paid for the catering, bless her heart. Hours after the reception is done she’ll get on a plane and fly back to Reno, then get a ride back to Tahoe, where she’ll immediately go back to work while her husband is behind in England for two weeks.
And she’ll be cheery, upbeat, and serene. She really does live the serenity prayer, pretty much always have. She was just born with it, she’s extraordinary, and I love her to pieces.
I can’t spare her the shit she’s going through. I hate that after all her expenses she then paid for the catering, and I wish to god I could have helped, but the little bit my mother left isn’t going to cover that as well as the minister, organist, etc.
Crusie’s not having a walk in the park, either. She spent a fortune on glasses and none of them work — she’s better off with over-the-counter reading glasses. Not a tragedy, but just one more kick in the ass. She just keeps getting slapped upside the head. Someone go out there and distract whatever vengeful god has her in his sights. Just wave wildly and then duck for cover. If enough of us do that They won’t find her.
As for me, I soldier on. I baked yesterday, put Autumn-y runners on furniture, plus fake foliage in pitchers for a splash of color. Then I went through a new box of photos and ached inside. But that’s to be considered and dealt with later…
In the meantime, we’ll all get through this year as best we can. But spare a thought for Mini-me. She may seem invulnerable, but I think she’s had enough shit thrown at her for a lifetime.