Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

Today, it's been 5 years. 5 years since the phone call. The phone call in which the voice of a woman, essentially a stranger, told me, matter-of-factly, that you were dead in your bedroom, and that I needed to come there.

I had just ordered a pizza. Bazbeaux special. Never got to eat it.

I don't remember much else about that evening. David was there, thankfully. He did the dirty work.

At some point I shifted into "get shit done" mode. Signed stuff, called people, tried to act normal, asked what was next. That much I remember. But the rest of the night, rest of the week really, is a fog.

I know that I hosed your obit. You were born in New Jersey, not Sandpoint Idaho. You lived in Sandpoint. You loved Sandpoint. But you were born in New Jersey. I should have remembered that.

I spent most of one night outlining a eulogy. An eulogy? Either way... I know you weren't there for it, well you were, but, you know, you were dead and all, but I gotta say, I killed. They laughed, they cried, I had them eating out of my hand. You would've been proud.

Best line was when Debbie walked in. I said, off the cuff, "My mother would be neither pleased, nor surprised, that my sister is late to her funeral." Huge laugh.

Since then, frankly, it's been a mess. You left me with a large, steamy, smelly pile of shit, Mom. What the hell were you thinking?

I know, you weren't thinking. You didn't think you'd die the day after your 64th birthday. By the way, I'm so glad I remembered to call you on your birthday. I called early. You were sober. It was nice.

I know you didn't mean to leave me that pile of shit. But the reality is, you did. And frankly, I haven't quite gotten over it.

I've accepted the fact that my early years were, let's say, unconventional. I made it through.

But I haven't been able to reconcile that you weren't really up to parenting my little brother. And I'm not able to conceive how you could drink your way through his death. When he needed you most, you were drunk. That is, at least for now, unforgivable.

I miss you. I miss him more.

I know that after five years, I should be able to forgive you. But I'm just not ready. I'm angry, and hurt, and I feel robbed of the life, and the kid brother, that I should have had. And I blame you. Not fair, but true.

And as you know, your penance is imprisonment. Your remains will sit atop my fridge until I think you've learned your lesson.

Until then, here's a late birthday present. You will be forever 30 years old thanks to YouTube, and an old VHS tape I found amongst your mountains of crap. Here is Any Gal Can, the infamous Changing a Tire episode, featuring our old Ford Pinto.