My mother in-law, former mother in-law, friend for 30 years, is going into hospice this month some time, if not this week. I have tried to start writing about her, and have over the years, certainly, but it is currently too raw, and she’s not dead yet, and so i want to spend my time trying to get her on the phone. Real always being preferable to memory. always. i say. my heart is wounded and throbs.
don’t you say the real is more than the memory? don’t you? the touch? the skin? the shared space? laughing? hugging?
I was there last wednesday, dropping off a lasagna and I sat and had a grilled cheese sandwich that my 88 year old father-in-law made for me when he heard I was coming over. Her memory is shot so he wasn’t at all sure I was actually coming, or what day I might be coming. We talked about my family, her cousins, death. I actually brought it up because 1. i had been thinking about my own, and 2. I think we should all talk to our elders about it. Expecting it is a whole different experience, I think, and I want to know what it is like.
I said that, for myself, I didn’t fear it, as long as I could remove my thoughts of the kids from the equation. Worrying about them ruined it all. She agreed, saying something along the lines of ‘what the hell else can you do? You die? you die!’.
I am a thousand times certain that I have loved her and been loved by her for 30 years. How lucky am I ?