My mother died last week, which was sad, I suppose. She was a hard person to love, my mother, though, so in many ways it was a relief.
Anyway, for a week or so after I sort of wandered around in a daze. Shock, I expect, and also that I wasn’t really sure what to do or how to do it. I spent so long on the phone telling everyone she was dead that for awhile it seemed like this was it now, for me, forever. Just sitting here at my desk ringing people up and going, “Do you remember [mother]? Well, she’s dead, I’m afraid. Sorry about that. Did you know her well? Yeah, oh, yeah, yeah, I know. I know. Sorry. Yeah she was, she really was. But still she’s my mother, and, well… I just thought you should know.”
I’m not sure even the vicar bothered to attempt to console me, to express in any way a sense of regret.
Anyway, I thought yesterday that it was over, after the funeral was done and she was safely buried and I’d cleared away all the uneaten buffet stuff from the table I’d set up in the living room and everyone had gone home and there was no need for them to ever think about her again.
But this morning I came down stairs and there she was, sat at the kitchen table, eating some toast and marmite, biting through it toothlessly with her dry papery lips.
“I thought you were dead,” I said.
“I was,” she said. “I spent the last week in heaven,” she said. “Nice place, really, except for all the cats.”
“The cats?” I said.
My mother didn’t like cats.
“Yes, the cats. Cats everywhere there was. Every cat that ever lived. Millions of them, sitting around. Sitting on everything,” she said. “Well, every cat that ever died, I suppose.”
“Why are you here, mother? You’re supposed to be dead.”
“Well, you know how I feel about cats.”
Everyone knew how she felt about cats.
“So I left. Told God it was either the cats or me. He chose the cats.” She took another bite of her toast. “He reminded me a bit of your father, really.”
“Are you sure you were in heaven, mother?”
“Well, where else would I have fucking been?”
So, anyway, now I expect I’ll have to spend the rest of the week on the phone again, telling everyone that I told that she was dead that she’s alive again now. I’m really not looking forward to having to explain this to the council. Or the inland revenue, or whatever they’re called now.
Actually, she’s going to be bloody furious when she finds out they’ve cancelled her pension. And how few people turned up at her funeral. How no-one even ate the sandwiches I’d made and that they’d all ended up in the bin.
Maybe I should let her call everyone.
1. Written on June 30th, 2016__________patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.