Saturday, January 13, 2018

Death Comes In Threes

It occurs to me that could be a good idea for a paranormal novel.  Death Comes In Threes.  Zombie ménage à trois perhaps.

Maybe someday.  For today it's just me babbling about things I can't say anywhere else, so please feel free to stop reading now, because nothing good will come of this post.  There's no takeaway here.

But it's a new year, right?  The old shit is supposed to be over, we're in a fresh new start...  To me it feels like the old shit is just rolling right into the new and forming one massive shitstain of a snowball.

I guess I still haven't gotten over the death of my dog.  Maybe because she felt more like a daughter to me, snotty attitude and all.  I'm sure she got the attitude from me.  As well as the anti-social, don't-touch-me, feed-me-now, yes-I-will-damn-well-pee-where-I-please stuff.  Because she was a nice, sweet girl when she arrived at eight weeks old.  She arrived when I was twenty-one, my young-mother baby, and she was supposed to hang out for a good long time.  Not turn up sick before she hit ten, go into the vet for an inspection and never come back home.  Not my beautiful bitchy girl who had me wrapped around her finger, and who I would traded places with in a heartbeat.

And yet.

Fast forward a couple of months and I get a call at work.  Apparently my grandfather's been found facedown on his living room floor and he's likely been there a couple days.  The funeral home is real impressed with themselves for "getting as much of him out of the carpet as we did."

I've never been close to this particular grandfather.  He was artistic, which I admire, and I loved his pottery.  But in his old age he always seemed deeply bitter at not having made a name for himself in the art world.  And frankly it never looked like he was trying that hard.  Which of course makes me worry I'm not trying hard enough (to be a writer, to be an artist), and I'll end up just like him.  But then again, the man told me to "put a lid on it" when I was five - "it" being a can of Pringles, and the meaning that I was a loud eater and likely to get as fat as my mother.  So.

But then we had to tell my grandmother.  His wife of seventy years, currently in a nursing home and not likely to ever leave.  And she kept forgetting who'd died and crying over her obese but still alive border collie.  So even if the dead relative doesn't make you sob, the living one probably will.

The rest of the family is out there now, picking over his belongings, by which I'm sure I mean they're cleaning.  And they want me to come collect mementos, and I can't even begin to.  Not only because it feels hideously morbid to me (and I'm a pretty goddamn morbid person).  But mostly because my mother's in the next bedroom dying, and I just can't seem to find my energy.

When I say she's dying I think I really mean it.  She's said she's dying since I was twelve, but last year, shortly after the sneaky bitch convinced me we should get an apartment together, so that she could escape the physical rehab facility where she was trapped, shit got real.  Lots of emergency 911 calls, followed by enrollment in in-home hospice care.  Hospice, you know, where patients get six months or less to live.

Some people die on hospice.  Others get better.  Despite failing heart, kidneys, eyes, and just about everything else, my angry, bitter-to-be-alive amputee of a mother thrived.  Healthier than ever.  Never going to die.

Then she got the flu.

And now her heart appears to be giving out.  Five days and she hasn't gotten out of bed.  She doesn't eat.  She barely drinks.  And in two days she hasn't once turned on the television to blast my brains out with Murder She Wrote or Quincy or Little House on the Prairie or any of that crap that makes me contemplate murder suicides.  She sleeps.  She mumbles to the imaginary possum on her bedroom wall.  (I jest not.)  Her body fills up with fluid until she looks like a beached whale, and when she wakes up, she doesn't know what day it is or why I have to leave her to go groom dogs at the shop or why on earth I want her to take her heart pills or drink some goddamn ginger ale.

Her doctor says she might surprise us and turn it around.  But her doctor also says this could be the beginning of the end.  And it will go fast, doc says.  But how fast is fast?  Days?  Apparently more than that.  A week, two, a month?  How long can you survive on one can of diet sprite a day?

I love my mother.  I hate my mother.  These are feelings I've lived with all my life, and I have no clue how to resolve them now.  I don't want her to die, because we just starting streaming iZombie from the first season, and she still hasn't seen how Game of Thrones ends.  The Bachelor just started for christ's sake.

I want her to die, because she's been in limbo for so long, and I know she believes in god and that she's going to heaven, and I want that for her even if it's all bullshit to me.

I want her to live, because she trapped me in this expensive apartment that I hate and can't afford on my own, and where the hell am I supposed to find a house for rent that will take me with two dogs, two ferrets, two rats, and four fish tanks, and yes I'm aware I created this particular dilemma all on my own.

I want her to live, because I have a new dog, adopted from one of my clients, and I want my new girl to have a grandmother.  I want my boy Jasper, who loves his grandma probably more than he does me, to keep getting his morning petting sessions and all the yummy people food she sneaks him.  I want to hear her bitching again about how Jasper leaves all his favorite balls right in front of her walker as gifts to her and she always thinks she's going to step on them and fall, even though she never actually lifts her feet high enough off the ground to step on a fucking gumdrop.

I want her to die, because I'm sick to death of living with my angry, sick mother, and I'm ready to be a fucking adult living in my own home, alone, without falling over walkers and wheelchairs and ugly ass furniture I can't stand and listening to that tv going day and night, day and night, until I want to scream.

I want her to live because she's my mom.  And even if there are a lot of ways she failed me as a mother, she always loved me.  And I love her.

My new novel was supposed to be finished a week ago, but I can't seem to write more than twenty words a day on it.  All my jewelry orders are overdue.  I burst into tears for no reason in the middle of every groom, and the dogs look at me like I'm nuts, dear jesus, why are they stuck with the nutso groomer and maybe a little nip would snap me out of it?

And I have no idea what to do.  None whatsoever.

Except wait.  And do nothing.

And now - just fucking now while my finger is hovering over the publish button - I hear her rasping and muttering to herself in her empty bedroom, and she says, "I love you, [Lydia].  I always have, I always will."

Fuck.  Me.