Happy Dead Mom Day #22, everybody! To those ladies who, in the desperate hours of the night entered "dead mom" into their Google search bars, welcome. Lay your head on my heaving bosom and stay awhile. There's no need to pretend anything here. In fact, we prefer it if you're gleefully unhinged. Shhhh...there you are now, you're so pretty.
Our mom has been dead for twenty-two years. Our dead mom could graduate from dead mom college! That's a big life transition, just like dying! Speaking of transitions, I'm sending a very Happy Dead Mom Day to Princess Diana, who must be very busy rearranging the stars to spell "Prince Georgie Forever!" I'd also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kate and Will on the birth of my first stepchild. I'm a little obsessed with the royals, and our dead mom connection, but look at this picture:
|My stepson's first family portrait! His mom is not dead, good for him!|
That hair! Those dogs! I'm thinking I'll just screw going after the crown, knock Will out of the way, settle down happily at the palace with Kate, and spend the rest of my life reading paranormal romance novels aloud with my face buried in her hair while the baby and the dogs play at our feet. Then on Dead Mom Day, I'll write out these blog posts on a scroll and have the town crier read them from the palace steps. It will be a beautiful life.
Now that Wills has a baby, the pressure is off! I wonder what my own dead mom is thinking about the royal baby. Is she looking at her stopped watch, shaking her head at me and whispering, "Tick, tock. Tick, tock." Or is she too busy turning cartwheels on the moon with Mae West to care that I haven't yet brought forth fruit from my womb to turn my dead mom into a dead grandmom? What are my dead mom's feelings on progeny?
I am 33 years old (thank you, I know I look good!), which means I am in my Jesus Year (because Jesus was 33 when he died...and was resurrected, depending on your belief system). According to Google, a Jesus Year is also an opportunity for transformation and magical thinking, which I decided to accelerate by going on a vision quest and doing one new thing a day. So, on the themes of transformation and dead moms, today I am wondering: can I turn into my mother, even if she's dead?
|Jesus had a mother. Was he worried about turning into her?|
Apparently turning into one's mother is a thing that happens, and a lot of people seem afraid of it. I don't know why turning into one's mother is a bad thing. It seems to involve elaborate organization systems for tupperware and taking all the individually-sized jam packets from the diner "because they're free," but otherwise it seems pretty harmless. But if your mom is dead, can you turn into her? Is it even safe to do so? How can you turn into a person whose memory fades in and out - sometimes she's a flickering shadow, a cool breeze felt behind your ears, and sometimes she's a hurricane, a visceral recollection that knocks you to the floor while you cry out, "I don't have a mom!" How can you turn into that? How can you survive turning into that?
Here are ways I am turning into my dead mom:
- Wearing big sunglasses and pink lipstick.
- Telling inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times.
- Still alive.
- Not a mom.
What does turning into your dead mom mean? And does it involve either being a mom or dying like your mom? Here's the thing about being a 33-year old daughter of a dead mom who is also in her prime childbearing years: I'm a year past the age my mom was when she had her last child, five-ish years* from the age when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and seven-ish years from the age she was when she died. Here's another fun fact about having a dead mom who died of breast cancer: when you are ten years from the age your mom was when she was diagnosed, they start intensively pre-screening you for cancer. Since I was 28, I've thrown myself under a wide variety of screening devices - the kinds of machines where I sadly have to leave my oversized earrings in the changing room and bring with me only my courage and a surprisingly good recall of Mariah Carey lyrics. The closer I get to my mom's age-at-diagnosis, the more intense it gets. I'm five years out from "D-Day," and sometimes I wonder if that tick-tock I hear is my biological clock or my countdown to cancer-town.
The thing is, if I have the same dance with destiny as my mom, shouldn't I get busy living, making babies, winning prizes, and generally smashing my legacy like wedding cake onto the face of the world? If I make it to the age of 41, I will have outlived my mother. At which point I can breathe a sigh of relief, but my eggs will be cooked. It will be "safe" for me to be alive for my children, but a bit on the late side to have said children. As the unfettered bachelorette that I am, what kind of gamble do I make? Have a kid and hope I don't die like my mom did? Do I start charting my ovulation cycle like a grown-up, or hide in a corner until my 42nd birthday and wait for it all to be over? Or do I take a full bottle of whiskey into a bar full of sailors and let fate decide? I'm kidding. I'd only walk into a bar full of firemen, obviously.
So there it is, the annual question I ask on Dead Mom Day, and the annual re-commitment to myself and my life. The question: Do I live my life worrying about my dead mom, or do I just live my life? I don't feel like being sad this year. I'm a little annoyed that I even remember this anniversary. But I'll take this occasion as an excuse to get a pedicure, and then get on with my life. In the gentle moments when my mother's memory hangs like a faint shadow, I remember mainly that she was really good at being alive, and that she loved me. So I don't feel like being sad. I feel like having a good time, because I'm still alive, and a lot of people love me.
|My mom loves me, even if she's dead.|
*My sister and I are really bad at dead mom math. We can never remember exactly how old she was when she died, and every year I have to call my sister the day before Dead Mom Day and remind her, "Don't be sad now. Save it for tomorrow."