“When you die, they let you off the hook.”
— Bob Dylan
I’ve been having some random thoughts since my mother died, of varying degrees of weirdness and self-involvement. In fact, I’m self-involved enough to tell you what they are:
- The tragedy of 9/11 happened only days after I returned home to California from London after my father’s death*. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina occurred days after I returned home from dealing with my mother’s death*. In both cases, I watched the news and just cried, feeling the grief of those who had lost their loved ones along with my own.
- In both cases, I went home and watched Six Feet Under, which seems even to me to be an odd TV choice, but maybe it has its own peculiar logic. Or not.
- I’m finding my family’s diminishing life expectancy a little disturbing. My great-grandparents, all four of them, lived into their 90’s. My grandparents, who all died within one calendar year, were all in their 80’s. My father barely made it to 70, and Mom was only 73. Does this mean I only have 20 years left? If so, I better start having fun right now.
*Why do we say “someone’s death” like they possess it somehow, that death belongs to the dead person? Clearly, it’s very much the other way around.