May is motherhood memoir month

Death & Mother’s Day Cards

I am looking at the rack of lovely Mother’s Day cards when I realize I don’t need to buy a Mother’s Day card this year. My mother is dead, or as I like to think, has flown away.

The Mother’s Day card was always a quandary for me anyway, filled with so much glowing praise that just didn’t apply. It always took me awhile to find the right card. Some years I just modified an all occasion card or, in my artsy phases, made my own card. It was always a rather conflicted occasion, so why now am I close to tears standing in front of the Mother’s Day card display?

I never thought I’d miss her, but I was wrong. And yet I don’t miss so many things about her, but there seems no way to be in touch with my actual feelings, processing them instead of numbing them, that allows me to to ignore the grief of what it means to be a motherless child in this life, even at my age.

Or maybe it is the way she died, euthanized by my brother and morphine, issues I can’t quite separate out from my feelings, but I also can’t do much about.

Our mother was difficult to care for, especially after our stepfather died. So when brother #2 stepped forward, the other four of us sighed with relief, and mostly went about our lives, watching from some distance, but also staying in contact. I live two states away, but made several trips down to SoCal to see her in the year between my stepfather’s death and her recent death.

The price for brother #2’s care, which was limited, since he lived in Henderson, NV and she lived in Fallbrook, CA, included her paying for a trailer for him to stay in on her property when he came over, and a truck to tow it, and the title on her paid off house, worth $540K. While we found it a bit alarming when he took her to an attorney within 4 months of our father’s death to sign over the house, we also had his assurances that he would buy another house that they could live in together, and her name would be on that title.

It wasn’t. And as soon as he had all her money, his care consisted of getting her on morphine, which rendered her incapable of even taking a sip of water, putting her in a dirty group home in Nevada, and letting her die among strangers.

And so, I no longer need to buy a Mother’s Day card. Meanwhile, I received a check representing 1/5 of what was left in my mother’s checking account, and a letter stating “By cashing this check, you are in agreement that this is the total amount due and owing to (you) from Estate of (Mother) and acknowledge receipt of your share…”

I don’t feel “owed” anything. But then again, I’m outraged and deeply grieved by what my brother did, robbing the trust my parents set up years ago, and hiding behind the statement, “this is what Mother wanted.” Yet I cannot find a way to make it right, except to write about it.

I buy the Mother’s Day card, a simple one, and start with that.

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