I didn’t get to see Guardians of the Galaxy when it came out in the theatres
As is often the case these days, I just missed out. I didn’t invite anybody, or join any others events. I was out of sync with the crowd. I’m too old to stay up for the late shows and to grumpy, or to wait in line for hours anymore.
I do enjoy movies, and there are some I’ll still pay to see opening night. Star Wars and Star Trek for sure.
Guardians probably was one worth seeing on the movie screen.
During its release, my mother’s health was on the decline, and she died. I was given some advance notice, which oddly, I chose to ignore. Almost as if in my mind I was denying it, and imagining this was just another example of my sister crying wolf. My mother had been close to death a few times over the past few years. I assumed this was another time like that.
I actually didn’t know what paliative care was when my sister told me about it. I didn’t realize my sister was telling me the end was near, for real. She was giving me the opportunity to be there, or at least to Facetime or Skype, and see her again.
Like every family, mine has its own story. I loved my mother to be sure, but I’ve had trouble comparing what we had, to what I considered the norm. As with everything, I over obsessed over the kinds of things others might call emotions. Oddly, I’d describe us as a close family that really didn’t know anything about each other. We spent time together, but didn’t really discuss anything personal. I knew little about my parents history.
As they began to lose their memories, they moved away to BC when they needed more attention and supervision than I was able to provide with weekend visits. I made it out to see them a few times, and was happy to visit them both of them just before my father’s passing. This was when they still knew who I was. I came back home, and never saw either of them again. We talked on the phone at Christmas and birthdays until it was clear they didn’t know they had a son at all.
As they deteriorated, both my sisters cared for them for a turn, but towards the end , became a major part of my older sister life. She was the caretaker of my parents till the end. I will always be grateful to her for that task. It was a chore I could not manage.
Two or do weeks after my mother’s passing, I started to occasionally wrestle with guilt, not so much concerning my mother, but more about how I might be judged for the way I handled her end of life time. When I was the one in Ontario, and visiting them as their son once a week, I thought about it as a chore. As their memories started to fade, they needed me even more, and I was unhappy to do it. It was hard. I watched new anger in my father as he transitioned from the cool, smart minded solver of any problem, to angry at his new status as useless Dad. I never liked seeing my father angry. Anger in people upsets me so deeply, I feel the need to run away from it.
As they got worse, I bailed, and shipped them off to the other side of the country. My sisters would have the reasonability.
I continued to live my life, free of my parents judgmental eyes. I will admit; life without parents was easier for me. It provided one less stress to deal with inside my depressed, obsessive, low self esteem brain.
When given the opportunity to do more for them, I declined. When given the opportunity to visit, I stalled. When given the opportunity to say goodbye, I was dismissive. I gave it no priority, and we’re it not for my sister, would not have tried.
My sister called me a few times, and finally reached me as she held the phone up to my mother’s ear. I was able to say hello. She didn’t talk back, and probably had to be told she had a son, and that his voice was on the phone. She was obviously older and more unhealthy than the last time we spoke, perhaps last Christmas, but I did not full comprehend this was goodbye.
To be honest, I had said goodbye when she knew me, and I’d moved on. I didn’t think much about it. As far as any relationship was concerned, for me my parents had died long before. I had successfully dealt with my father’s death with minimal emotion or guilt.
I retained pretty happy memories of my mother, who was happy till the end, at least as far as I knew. She wore her big hats and costume jewelry every day, and when she didn’t know her own memories, she freely created her own stories of fiction, delivered with enthusiasm and charm. I remember she had lunch with the prime minister one week. My father didn’t do as well. He was much more angry or sad, and often talked about death and suicide. Although he was capable of showing some moments of happiness in the moment, it was clear he wasn’t happy.
My mother’s finality effected me more. I didn’t set aside time to cry, but I did get weepy spontaneously a few times. Having to tell people the story over and over keeps it fresh, and it triggers memories each time. In my everyday life, I have missed both of them often. I have sadness we won’t get to make new memories, and so I cherish the ones I’ve retained. Whenever I complete something I feel some pride in, I’m sad they didn’t get to see or share that. I think my mother would have loved to follow me on Facebook.
Death of your parents however does transition your thinking. Like Thanksgiving weekend is the time when a lot of people start thinking about Christmas, death of a loved one is the trigger to start thinking about your mortality. It is weird to think that I am older than the memories I have of my parents being. Everything we did together, we did when they were younger than I am now. That’s a weird realization. My parents died having lived longer than my grandparents. All my memories or Grandpa and Gramdma seem so long ago, but they always seemed so very old. I never got to spend time with my old parents.
My mother was an old grandmother to her only granddaughter, but to her, my mom was the old loose skinned lady that didn’t always know who she was. She never had the stories of great vacations or stay-overs with her Grandmother.
I’m happy my memories of my parents are of the good times. Despite some troubles, I have mostly good memories from my childhood, and my parents did a fine job raising me to be a son worthy of their pride, even when they didn’t remember me.
I journalize some thoughts about my mom tonight, tearing slightly but smiling mostly.
All of this happened because I sat down to watch Guardians of the Galaxy at home, and the opening scene is all about a son being bedside his ill and deathbed mother. I turned it off, and wrote all this. I am glad I didn’t see this in the theatre. It would have been worse to feel like this in a theatre with friends.
The universe provides.
P.S. Mom… I promise, even after death, I won’t tell anybody what the G stands for. Your secret will die with me.