This week I received a solicitation for discount prepaid cremation services and an offer for a three-week free membership for a senior online dating service – not from the same company. Although, the thought of dating again does make me want to hasten my demise, so both of these offers arriving on the same day was not without a certain amount of irony.
I have to admit that the holidays do bring out a bit of longing for companionship other than the four-legged variety. Maybe it’s just nostalgia for childhood Christmases made jollier than they actually were from the passage of time. The mind can do that, you know. Get in there and mess with one’s memories until fact and fiction blur and before you know it the ghosts of Christmas past no longer have the power over you that they once possessed.
I’m a child of an alcoholic mother. My Christmases were chaotic and rarely without the destruction of a few good plates. I always had tons of presents though, even if some years I had to search for my hidden stocking goodies and stuff the stocking myself. Mom never said a word about that. Maybe she believed in Santa. Ho, ho, ho.
I bear no ill will toward her. It’s been decades since she died and, as an adult, I know she loved me and did the best she could. Still the battle between us was fierce. The more she drank, the more I punished her with the cruelty of my words and the harder my words stung, the more she would drink.
I moved out on my own when I was 19. Coincidentally, that’s when she stopped drinking. Trying carrying that one around for a lifetime. Ho, ho, ho.
I wish I could recall our last Christmas together. I would have been 22. She’d been in and out of the hospital for an inoperable tumor on her spine. Oh, yes. She traded alcohol for cancer. Go figure. I remember her last few months when there was nothing more to fight about and we finally became friends. I worked in the music business and would score weed from the Grateful Dead to help her with the nausea from the chemo. We’d get stoned, listen to the Dead and laugh. Good times.
Maybe that’s what we did that final Christmas.
I’m tempted to sign up for that offer from the online dating site just through the holidays. There might be someone out there with a childhood tale similar to mine and, if things work out, maybe we could even get a package deal on those cremation services.
Merry Christmas, Mom.