I can’t really write about this yet, so I don’t know why I am, except that I don’t know how else to process things.
I write this from my laptop, which is with me now where I am staying, my Mommy’s apartment in her assisted living development. I am staying with my Mom because she can’t be alone right now because Saturday evening her daughter, my sister, died.
We have been “the Smith sibling 6” for 50 years. Now there are 5 of us. None of us, I think, can wrap our heads around this. My sister had just sold her house in Connecticut and was visiting here in Maryland, on her way to a new home she and her husband were building in California to be close to children and grandchildren and the ocean for retirement. She took a nap and that was the end.
My Mom is, understandably, destroyed. I am staying with her at least through Friday, and as she told a friend on the phone, “He’s going to stay as long as I need him – we’ll see.” My Mom is incredibly strong and independent, I am sure she’ll grow tired of having me here soon enough, and too, will want to make space for other visitors who are sure to want to spend time with her. But for now, we are filling the time with – I can’t say really – it feels as if the time between Saturday when the call came and I had to come here with another sister to tell my Mom the news and this morning – it feels as if that has been a million years – I have lost all track. Last night was Rock Hudson and Doris Day night on Turner Classic and we watched.
One of the films was made in 1961. The year I was born. Something about seeing that date made me cry. I go to the bathroom to cry. I don’t cry in front of Mommy. She has enough. And both of us go to the bathroom every ten minutes anyway, so, she doesn’t get suspicious. Near the end of the film we had a discussion – well – I asked her, “Didn’t they have the pill in 1961? I mean, who would believe a woman of Doris Day’s age and with the need for THAT MUCH vaseline on the lens would NOT have had sex yet?”
Mommy laughed (thank goodness, I am trying to work laughs in where I can) and said, “Charlie, it’s only a movie!”
If only we could dismiss the rest of this shit with that answer.