Felila (felila) wrote,

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Ate dinner out; my mother died

I spent the day helping my daughter spend her Christmas money, following which we had a modest meal at a Thai restaurant. Came home to find the message light blinking on the answering machine, and a call from my brother saying that our mother was sinking fast. She had congestive heart failure and had been living in a nursing home for a few years, sliding gradually downhill, so this was no surprise. I called my brother and we had a nice talk, veering from the emotional to the bizarre. He commented that it was a relief to talk to someone who didn't expect him to be solemn and mouth cant phrases from TV.

A call to the nursing home went unanswered, so I left a message. A few hours later, the nursing home operator told me that my mother had finally passed away. It was peaceful and, thanks to the drugs, painless; she drifted off to sleep and then opened her eyes and died.

I don't need any cant phrases either. I did not like my mother at all and avoided her, and her constant criticism, as much as possible. Towards the end of her life, I dutifully made calls, sent presents, even visited twice, but all was done with gritted teeth. Plus a lot of wariness; reveal a weakness and BLAM!

I recently re-read two books that I *loved* as a child, tear-jerkers that were old-fashioned even in the 1950s: A Girl of the Limberlost and Elsie Dinsmore. Both of them feature demure little girls who try very very hard to be good, in anguished and usually futile attempts to please unloving parents. So that's how it felt.

But she could have done worse. And she had a hard life. Just couldn't prevent it from affecting her children as well.
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