OT: A bit sad
Please forgive me while I talk about life a bit, y’all. I am sad tonight. Nothing that I can do about it, and it will pass. I feel like talking about it, and yet I don’t want to bother anyone with it. So I will put it here for whomever chooses to read it.
My stepfather turned 95 on Friday. Freaking ninety-five!! We drove out to his place yesterday to take him to dinner. He was happy to see us, making his usual jokes and not complaining at all, but I still ached for him. He’s so feeble now, so stooped over, walks very slowly with a cane. It takes him a long time to get up and down, but he never asks for help. He is not supposed to drive anymore, but he still does once in a while. He had someone coming over a few times a week to help him out, but that didn’t work out at all and now he’s completely on his own again. He can’t even take a bath anymore, which he used to love, because once he gets in the tub, he can’t get himself back out. His eyes have gotten so bad, he can’t read anymore — something else he loved. What the hell kind of life is this?? He forces himself to eat, because he’s never hungry anymore. He used to be a strong, strapping man of 6′ 2″ and about 180-190 pounds. Now he weighs 149. Christ… I used to weigh more than 149.
He misses my mother. I wish I could say the same, but truthfully, I do not. I miss who she was, but I said goodbye to that person years ago. I wish I felt some sort of connection to her, wanted something that was hers. But my mother and I never had the same taste in things; not in decor, not in clothes, not in jewelry or accessories. She wore pins and brooches and chunky beads; I like delicate necklaces and bracelets. She loved scarves; I don’t get scarves, or how to wear them, at all.
When she was still somewhat lucid, she used to tell me, over and over, that she wanted me to have her pearls. I knew nothing of these pearls or what they looked like, but she kept talking about them and I knew it meant a lot to her that I should have them. However, she couldn’t remember where she put them.
After she passed away and M was asking me if I wanted anything, I mentioned the pearls, but he knew nothing about them and had no idea where they were either. Recently, after she’d been gone for nine months, he finally found an old jewelry case high on a forgotten shelf. In it were several pairs of costume earrings and a few pins. And a double-strand choker of pearls.
So, he finally gave them to me this weekend. I waited to feel something; a thrill, a connection, a sense of continuation from mother to daughter, an eagerness to wear them myself.
I felt nothing. Sure, they’re pretty. But they’re not my style at all.
The clasp was intricate and complicated, and neither John nor I could get it open. So I wrapped the pearls up in a paper towel and put them in my purse. After we said good night and left, John promptly fell asleep in the passenger seat. I cried quietly for about a third of the 1-1/4 hour ride back home, making sure I didn’t awaken him. I’m not sure why. I just felt so damn sad and sorry for my stepdad. But I didn’t feel like talking about it; I needed to focus on the drive.
When we got home, John asked for the pearls and after playing with a clasp for a while, he finally got it open, and he immediately put them around my neck. Again, I waited to feel something. They were cold, very heavy and uncomfortable on my neck, and that was all. I couldn’t wait to take them off.
This makes me sad. I have things of my father’s that I love: some of his books, his poems, one of his Emmys, pictures. But nothing of my mother’s connects me to her, emotionally. Not even those pearls.
As you might remember, a few months ago, my stepmother gave me a necklace that she’d worn for 50 years. I loved it from the first moment I saw it, and I feel such pride and joy in wearing it. She’s not even related to me, and yet her piece of jewelry means more to me than my mother’s. If my mom knew this, it would break her heart.
I guess it’s a good thing that she’s not here to know.
I wish it were different. But it isn’t, and that’s just how things go sometime. I can’t conjure up a sentimentality I don’t feel.
Anyway. I am seeing Mr. D tomorrow morning, same as last week. I don’t even care about the schedule flip-flop. I need to see him, and sooner is better than later. My head is spinning on my shoulders and needs to be screwed back on.
Later this week, I will write up my answers to your questions. Meanwhile, it’s not too late to post one, here.