Mom died today.
It was for the good.
Watching her go through the Catholic Ritual of Last Rites Thursday was painful. She was suffering, screaming, rolling around. The place taking care of her did the best job they could for her but in the end, there's nothing nice and neat about death. Only on TV. I always though Pope John Paul II set the best example, declining publicly, painfully with as much dignity he could muster.
I've cried a good bit today and right now I'm at the neighborhood bar, rehydrating. Stupid decision? Yeah, well, that's me. I also had a full day at work, which is also me.
I did get my car ready to get to Chippewa. It's an old car and my mechanic said my car is leaking. I asked from where? He said everywhere. I don't want to hear that from my mechanic or my doctor.
I also had a haircut and beard trim, just to tamp down concerns at the funeral about how "that Jackson boy -- you know the one -- he looks like a real bum."
When my little blog went national and I gave an interview to my friend Eric Lindquist from the Eau Claire newspaper, the story was sent to my hometown newspaper. I realized I lost control of my narrative. And my mom, in memory care but still pretty aware, was going to be inundated with false sympathy from those who wallow in misery.
Mom didn't have a private phone in her room, so I called the nurses' desk and told her a story saying I was homeless was about to appear in the hometown newspaper. I convinced her I was fine. I had a hotel to stay in, later a beautiful cabin, and then later another hotel.
I said, "mom, a bunch of old biddies are going to come to you and say, 'it's such a shame about your son.' But I'm fine. I'll survive this and see you as soon as I can.
Then I advised her to tell the old biddies to calm the F down. Only, I didn't use the letter. (My mom taught me how to cuss.)
"Repeat after me, mom: Calm the F down." We did that three times.
I envisioned everyone at the nurses' desk with huge eyes because, as mom told me, everyone there considered her the "nice, old Catholic lady."
A great memory.
Yes, mom cussed. Yes, she drank a couple martinis every night for 60 years. But she went to mass every day, said nine Rosaries a day (most of them for me -- let's be honest) and was an intellectual. At the beginning of her move into memory care, I made the mistake of quoting Aristotle's Golden Mean. She corrected me. In Latin.
I have many great memories.
I'll savor them.
I'm now going to wrap up this entry because I'm writing in a bar and I'm crying in a bar. That ain't the first time for the latter. That's just me.
Peace unto Ukraine and peace and memories unto all of you my brothers and sisters.
(And honestly, if any of you can offer some appreciation after three years and nearly 400 posts, I'd appreciate it: Venmo)