Last night dad called to sarcastically ask for a moment of silence for my maternal grandfather. Unbeknownst to me, grandpa had died 33 hours before and nobody had bothered to call and tell me. The average person would have been annoyed or put out but I consider this par for the course where my mother is concerned.
After observing a satirically short moment of silence for my grandfather, (Grandpa and dear old dad stopped getting along when gramps waved that gun in dad’s face.) I decided, with my wife’s help, to call to check up on my mother. No answer. A couple hours later, still no answer. Since mother is not one to do anything except wallow in her own misery either inside or outside of the house this was unusual. Playing detective, I called the funeral home in charge of the deceased, his former abode in the nursing home, (Have you ever noticed the types of places they call homes? Nobody ever comes back from a home of any sort.) and some random gentleman who has the same name as my uncle and lives in the same area but clearly, after much questioning, is not the party in question.
Fine. Knowing mother, she went to work. Let’s give the old workplace a call. After a bit of minor schmoozing, the lady on the other end of the phone informs me that not only is mother not at work but she also didn’t call in. For other people, that might be of no real concern. For this woman, however, if she doesn’t call in then it’s 90% likely that she’s adding yet another evil smell to the world.
The story so far: It’s been several hours and my generally homebound mother is not answering her phone and has apparently not been seen anywhere in town where she would be expected after such an event. No relatives are available and since she has attempted suicide once before it was clearly time to enlist the aid of a professional. Ten digits later and a representative from the Frankfort police force is on his way to find my mother’s corpse. A mere twenty minutes later we’ve heard nothing. At times like this, the content of the answer is much less important than actually obtaining an answer of some kind.
Tired of waiting, I once again phone the missing person and amazingly she answers. Her first words are to berate me for having called the cops on her. In many ways I can understand this sentiment. The second set of words are amusing and more typical, “Well, I’m not dead. You got a little too anxious, Mr Greedy.” Now I find myself stuck in an hour long conversation in which I’m again trying to convince this maternal maniac that I am *NOT* part of a conspiracy to kill her. Regardless of the outcome, I at least have the amusing mental picture of my mother popping out of bed like jack-in-the-box as a patrol officer shines his light into her window. That’ll teach her to answer her phone and the door when the trooper pounds on it.
Sadly, what has been overshadowed in this little drama is the person who actually did lose his life. Speaking with the healthcare worker at the nursing home where he spent his last days, we find that my mother had been removed from the contact list for this patient so she was not even called as it became obvious that death was no longer a stranger to my now deceased relative. That left grandpa at the mercy of my uncle for comfort in his final hours on Earth. Based on the somewhat tearful words of the lady at the nursing home, Mike didn’t respond with great alacrity to the first call so she personally had to sit at his bedside during his last night on this planet. She explained that he simply stated he was “Afraid to be alone.” I frankly don’t blame him for the sentiment but it’s shocking to think that this brute of a man who did so much to mentally scar his children should come to the point of begging for simple human comfort from the only resource left to him in his final hours. If nothing else, this teaches us just what is at the core of each and every person. No matter what callous or evil exterior the world sees, at the center of us all lives a tiny child who’s scared of the darkness under their bed or the light at the end of the tunnel to eternity.