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9:25 AM - Mon 1.14.19

Losing What I Never Had

(Just had to go back to my last entry, to see where I left off...)

Well, after not having to report for two days, I did end up getting called in for jury duty (a week ago Thursday).

Then, after hoping I'd make it through the day without getting impaneled on a jury...I got impaneled on a jury (I was in the last group to be called).

Friday voir dire began, but they didn't get to me, so I was back on Monday morning, hoping they'd fill the jury, not end up needing me, and release me by lunchtime.

But they still hadn't gotten to me by lunchtime. And at that point, I started worrying I was going to make it onto the jury after all - Not the end of the world, I started telling myself, just inconvenient (In the moment, I was particularly concerned because I didn't have a fill for my WW meeting the next morning).

But finally they got to me - again, I was in the last group (#36 of I think 41 potential jurors) - and when questioning was done, the Prosecution released me.

(I thought I could be a fair juror - and was warming a little to the proposition since I've never been a juror on a criminal trial - but I think I was a little too skeptical of the police to suit her.)

So I was quite happy to go, because now work wasn't going to be a problem, and I could do my thing with Jane R. sooner rather than later (I'd hoped to get off by noon, do my thing with Jane, then go to Zumba that night. And it ended up being too late for all that. But this was still a "win" in my book).

Was already downtown, so for a hot minute, considered just calling Jane and walking straight to the Biltmore, but worried I'd go back in the evening for my car and they'd say, "You were released from jury duty hours ago. Now you owe us a million dollars".

So as I walked back to my car, I idly checked Facebook and saw my brother Tony had posted that our mother had died.

A minute or two later I got a text from his wife Lori saying "I'd hoped I would have a chance to tell you the news before Tony posted...".

Being me, I was kind of put out that I'd only had about 10 minutes of uncomplicated happiness before getting this news.

But I pondered what this all meant, if it meant anything, as I drove home. It wasn't exactly unexpected news - she'd been unwell, after all - but I was still surprised at how quickly the end had come.

And while I didn't feel overwhelmingly sad - In my mind, I basically went from "Not having a mother" to "Really not having a mother" - I knew I was feeling...something. It wasn't just neutral, meaningless information I'd gotten.

So when I got back home, I texted Jane the news and told her when I expected to get to the hotel.

The plan had been for Jane to interview me about my mother - And particularly how I felt about my mother's pending demise.

But as I met Jane at the hotel, we made dark humor out of the fact that my mother had "conveniently" died while Jane was in town and we'd already planned our interview.

So Seth, our Cinematographer, set up the camera.

But instead of the planned interview, Jane basically established that I'd just heard my mother had died, and let me go.

I monologued for something like an hour (I was surprised, after the fact, that I had talked so long) - Alternately laughing and crying and, according to Jane, saying some pretty interesting, insightful stuff.

I kept checking to see if Jane was going to ask me anything, but she told me after the fact that she hadn't wanted to "break the flow" (Not sure she used those words, but that was the implication).

I don't remember what all I said about my mother dying. But I know I was sad for her (In my estimation, she didn't really have much of a life), sad for the family-that-never-was (I know I said, not for the first time, that alcohol/alcoholism "blew up" our family), and worried that her sad end might be a vision of my own (Lost to dementia - a particular fear of mine - with no one really, beyond Tony and Lori and maybe their kids, left to mourn her death. Lori said they probably wouldn't even have a funeral, that she was going to be cremated and Lori planned to create a flowery little shrine for her on their property, and write a simple obit for the paper. Which, if anything, puts Mom one-up on me, at least from where I'm currently standing - I don't know that there will be anyone to mourn me when I die, and I seriously doubt anyone's gonna be creating any "shrines" or writing any heartfelt obituaries...though I'm hoping I might merit at least a brief mention in the trades).

Anyway, after the interview, we filmed a bit of me dancing down the hallway at the hotel, which was fun and funny and just generally weird, especially in light of circumstances (Jane wants to make me dancing a through-line of the film, and I'm down with that). It amused me that, even though we weren't making any noise (My music - "Machine Gun" by the Commodores - was on headphones), it suddenly became Grand Central when we started doing our thing.

All-in-all, it's possible I've had stranger days - getting off jury duty, hearing my mother had died, processing it on-camera maybe an hour later, then dancing down a hotel hallway - but off the top-of-my-head, I can't recall any.

With getting the news, and doing the interview with Jane - and maybe talking about it in therapy the next day - I thought I'd basically be "done" with my mother's death.

But to my surprise, I got a text from Lori - the next day, I think - saying the funeral home where my mother was to be cremated would be contacting me regarding authorization for the procedure.(Apparently, if there's not a surviving spouse to make the decision, it falls to an adult child. And if there are multiple adult children, it's "majority rules").

I wasn't exactly angry that I was in this position, but it was surprising and weird and slightly annoying - I met the woman once in the past 56 years, and now I'm having to help execute her final wishes? - but after a hiccup here and there (The funeral home I contacted had no idea about the "gentleman's agreement" funeral homes supposedly have regarding this sort of thing, so I ended up just using a notary for the forms, which I then had to mail because I couldn't get my scanner to work), the task was completed, and now I'm basically done with my mother's death.


Someone - One of the Janes in my life, I'm thinking? - suggested I ask for some memento of my mother's (I think it was Jane R. Jane Z. asked if I was going to get some of my mother's ashes, which I would never have thought to ask for. To my way-of-thinking, they will mean something to Lori but wouldn't mean anything to me beyond a weird conversation-piece...and maybe a macabre Instagram post).

I can't tell you why the idea of having some tchotke from my mother immediately appealed to me - Have I mentioned I didn't really know the woman? - but it did. So the next time I chatted with Lori (A lovely person, by the way), I asked, and she said sure. To my surprise, she almost immediately said "I know the perfect thing...", or words to that effect - I didn't ask her to elaborate, preferring in this instance to be surprised (What would constitute "the perfect thing" in this instance? The mind reels with possibilities...).

So I'll get whatever-it-is...and then I'll be done with my mother's death.

...unless she leaves me something in her will.

Which I don't see happening (I don't think there's much to be "willed" for one thing. And for the other, I wasn't "family" - Tony and Lori and their kids were her family).

And with that, I think we're "up to date" on all the big news.

There's more I could write about, but it'll keep.

So till next time...


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