Friday, 22 August 2014

Death and taxes

Yeah I know, long time no blog. Quite sure I've already posted about this (I think I have anyway), but I suppose I started this blog to discuss my childhood, growing up, my life etc, and now I feel that I've done that, I only really have a need to blog occasionally when something happens that warrants it.

Something has been on my mind for a while, something I've blogged about previously. Not at the forefront of my mind, but at the back of it, the kind of things that you only start to worry about as an adult as these things, no matter how far back in your mind you put them, time slowly drags them to the front, under some cruel force of gravity.

Not long ago my mother passed away. She was ill for a short time, but seriously ill, however her death was still unexpected. Maybe one of the more horrible things about this post is that (trust me) I'm not posting this for sympathy; I've long feared how I would react, how I would feel...and now it has happened I can finally dissect it like some cancerous tumour.

It was hard when she got quite ill as the pressure to be a "better son" was mounting from my father. As I've already said, we've never really been a close family and I've never really had much to do with my dad, but now I was getting voicemail messages that made it perfectly clear he was less than happy with the fact that I wasn't calling her enough etc. The final call came when I was at work. My dad never calls when I'm at work. When I saw the number flash on my screen, I just knew what it was. I steeled myself, and answered. I have to admit I felt nothing at all. I tried to react as best I could but didn't really know what to say. My dad talking about it a bit, replacing emotion for pragmatism, and after the call I went back to work. Didn't tell my colleagues or anything, I just got on with my day.

I travelled up to stay with my dad for the funeral and my brother and sister did also. They got there a few days before I did, which I was glad of. I was also glad they were there, period, as I genuinely didn't know how I'd cope. Not from grief, but for myself. I've never seen any emotion from my dad at all, but he was breaking down crying at least once a day, and it was just awful, but my sister did the whole comforting thing while my brother and I just sat there feeling uncomfortable. My dad was also quite quick to anger about everything. I didn't blame him though, you just had to stand there and bear it. However I think a lot of it was just years of resentment coming out over what disappointing children we'd all been. Stood in the kitchen, listening to shouting, burned bacon excised to the bin by oncologist father, blaming the oven, the gas, the hob...everything but what he really wanted to blame.

They say these things bring people closer together and I guess it did with my siblings for the few days we were all together. My brother and my sister usually talk away about stuff I'm not interested in, but this time we had a common "thing" to talk about. I told my brother that I was glad he had children, that it was obvious our mum wanted to be a grandmother as her face always lit up when she saw babies on the street. I confessed that I will never have children and I can't see my sister having them either, so I was glad he did have them and gave her the chance to be a grandmother. He didn't say anything in response, but he did wipe a tear from his eye.

As a complete outsider, even to my own family, some things were a bit of a revelation to me. My dad spoke a little about things my mum was involved in that I didn't really know about...about sponsored African children and all things of that nature. The various relatives I met, and the eulogy etc, all spoke greatly of how much she loved her family, and so on, about how religious she was etc. My sister talked about how "dignified" and "proud" my mother was, and how she would have felt about the illness in her final months. None of these are things I'd really have associated with my mum. I don't know if people were just speaking well of the dead, or if the world just revolves oblivious to my observations.

It was a hard couple of days but I got through it, and now...well, life goes on as before really. Obviously I know all about grief, the grieving process etc, but I haven't experienced any of that. It just hasn't really had any negative effect on me at all. I don't mean any judgement by that, I don't pass any and I don't want any. I'm just telling you, my readers, that my mother died and it meant nothing to me. I don't know if that is because I have Asperger's Syndrome (AS), or if I'm just a horrible person.

The "will I" "won't I" about telling my parents I have AS has never really been an issue for me. I lived over half my life without a diagnosis, I always struggled by and I resolved that I would live the end of my life as I started it. I never had any excuses, and now I have a diagnosis I don't want them. And now the whole issue is half moot.