I’m watching House in a NY hotel room. Originally, I had meant to call people while I was in town, have dinner, Hang Out, and all that…but in the end, for some reason, I just didn’t. Work wound down and I went back to the hotel, making a brief stop along the way to pick up the Daily News and eat at a small Thai restaurant.
It’s a rerun of a rerun, which is too bad, because what I need are mere reruns, to catch up on what I’ve missed—since I’m a recent convert. On this particular episode, Omar Epps stops by a hotel to see his visiting parents. His mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s, but when he first sees her, she is lively and exuberant and full of love. And for some reason, out of the blue (it is always out of the blue), I miss my mom.
Maybe it’s because it’s mid-August, and she died at the end of August. Maybe there’s something about it being eight years now. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just seeing another tough and lively woman fighting disease—even a fictional woman.
There are times when I feel at peace with it all—where her absence is simply a Fact in my life, and an old fact at that. Bad but understandable. Digested and dealt with long ago.
And then, all of a sudden, for some reason, there’s nothing old or factual about it anymore, and I am angry and at a loss, filled with loss—her loss. Something reminds me of her in the full force of her life, and I’m enraged that I’ve been denied the full force of her life—that I don’t get to have her voice on my phone anymore, or her face at my door. And her face would have been at my door—of that, I have no doubt. There to see us, there to see her grandchildren, there to…relish it all, in her sixties and beyond. There would have been great richness and joy in that part of her life—of that, too, I have no doubt.
Instead what I have is distance and void—the idea of family but rarely the reality of it, the presence of it. We are blown apart, all in different parts of the country and off in our own worlds. And when we are present, when we're all together, the three of us who have been left behind, it is merely polite and merely friendly. We are cordial. We get along. It’s fine. We speak of politics and movies and other trivia. We enjoy each other’s company. But it is all just…mere.
The heart has gone out of the whole operation.