My Mom was the first person close to me to die. I was two months exactly from 19. I had just finished up my first year at a community college. I had just had my first student art show. My Mom was too sick to go. I think maybe two weeks later, she was gone.
I used to have a bad habit of leaving parties and such without saying goodbye. Its still a habit. I just feel like it’s wasted time, at least partly. I usually did it when I just wasnt feeling it that night and would leave relatively early, and if I said my goodbyes, I would be prompted with questions asking me if everything was ok, because why would I be leaving so early?
Truth is that I feel in most part, specifically to my life in the last 3-4 years, I have existed in outside circles. Most of my life has been that way, really. I have many amazing friends, I am very lucky. Maybe its a 20s thing, and I have a feeling it’ll be a 30s thing too, the changing and morphing of relationships. Going back to school at 23 was like having a foot in two worlds at all times. At first I tried to keep up with outside friends, relationships that existed before going back to school. The first two years were decent, then it dwindled. All of us sort of drifted, and now things are so much different. All of my before friends have different lives and I dont really fit in them any more. And while VC was very close knit and I will always see those people as a family, I was still a bit of the outsider. The college experience is not the same when you are 23 and a freshman, but I still did have a fantastic experience. Best decision I ever made. And I do have some lifelong friendships from those years. But I wont be apart of any of their inside circles.
So slipping out without saying goodbye just was the natural choice. Same thing when I moved out of my studio after graduation. No goodbyes. I dont see the point.
And I wonder if my Mom felt the same way. She was the first person I ever lost, someone that meant a lot to me, but the experience in dealing with someone who has died was very new. So I didnt know what was normal in these situations. There is no guide book.
I find myself looking back and wondering why my Mom didn’t give her goodbyes. She wrote no letters, made no last requests, made no effort to do anything she hadnt been doing before the cancer. She just lived each day like the day before, like we didnt know what was coming. I dont understand it. At all. At the time I didn’t know what was normal. But now. It haunts me in a way. Why didnt she try to tell me all the things she knew she wouldn’t be able to tell me in the future? And why did I not ask her any questions? Why didnt I ask her what her first kiss was like, what was the happiest day of her life? Why didn’t I ask about her childhood? I did ask her if she was scared. She said no. Sometimes that really pissed me off.
I guess maybe that was her way of leaving the party with no goodbyes. Because what is the point? What could she possibly say about her emotions and her feelings towards me that I didn’t already know? And while I can understand it from that perspective, I cant figure out hers. I cant figure out why there wasn’t a desire to do these things, to make sure to leave your mark, to cross your t’s and dot your i’s before you die.
But the more I think about it, I cant say I wouldn’t do the same. I suppose I’ll find out what its like, if I know it’s coming like she did.