At the beginning of 2017, I made what I thought was a resolution that I'd finally be able to keep: to do at least one fun thing a month that wasn't going to see a movie. Not that movies aren't fun, it's just that there's got to be more than that, right? So I printed out a calendar and set about figuring out what I'd do in what month. I pre-purchased my tickets to Fan Expo and made sure to get the days off I needed from work, got tickets to a convention in February so I could hang out with friends, and scoured local sites for things to do in my immediate area.
I managed to keep the resolution for four of five months. In January I saw Wicked on Broadway, February I was at a convention in Maryland where I got to talk to Enver Gojkai and Sam Witwer, and in March I went back to NYC to see The Price and stay in a boutique hotel for a night. I skipped April in a blur of Spring cleaning and overtime but in May I went back to Toronto for a cast screening of a movie I can't describe, and then by June, I realized something was off with my mother.
Sure, she was 77 and it showed. But she moved just a little too slowly and I started pestering her about making more doctors appointments, signed up for one of those fresh food delivery services, and threw hail mary passes with products I bought online. I thought it was her circulation or her heart. and that she just needed more energy, nutrition, motivation, maybe some kidney cleansing snake oil from *this* site (which I did not buy), or one of the myriad prescriptions for all the ailments being cured in all those ads telling us to talk to our doctors for conditions no one had heard up until they were advertised.
It was none of those things. Turns out she had stage 4 lung cancer that had already spread to almost all of her major organs and her bones by the time I got her to the hospital via 911 when she couldn't get off the couch after two days. How does someone that went to the doctor regularly have stage 4 lung cancer and no one knew it? She went into the hospital on the 3rd of August, two days after her birthday. She was brought up to the Hospice wing ten days later and died 12 hours after that. I'm not sure if it was because she was in the hospital that she went so quickly, or things really were just that far advanced. One reads a lot about how attituded makes a difference. Was moving her to the Hospice wing something that pushed her farther along? Did she think I was packing her up before she was gone? Was she trying to make it easier on everyone else to go quickly? I honestly do not know. What I find strange now, having all the time in the world to reflect on it, was there were no last minute parcels of knowledge passed along. It's a common trope in Hallmark movies about someone with a terminal disease and their last, most meaningful days on Earth, or in true tales of people caught in disasters using their last few minutes to fill a lifetime in their final words. Bits of wisdom that spring to mind as the end is near. But there was nothing. All she really did was mention a yellow dress that might fit me. Was that because she already said everything she thought she'd have to say? The last exchange we had was her asking why they were taking her to radiation and I had to explain they weren't, we were taking her upstairs to a nicer room. By the time they got her up to her new room she was so exhausted that she was already asleep by the time I got there and she never woke up after that.
I don't really know what to do with that.
It was all practicality till the end.
So I'm thinking now it's time I get back to practicalities, to life, to resolutions. In September I finally made it to the Adirondack Balloon Festival. I've wanted to go for years but it means having to get up hours before done to make it on time for it to be worthwhile. I got up at 3:30 in the morning and spent a little longer than I wanted in traffic just outside the airstrip where the balloons would launch from, but at dawn, over 100 balloons launched into a clear blue sky and I was very glad I went.
And last weekend I took a day trip to New York City to see Torch Song at the 2nd Stage Theater just off Broadway. This was another excursion I had planned before... well, before.
I didn't have to get up before dawn, the sky was not clear, but the trip was decidedly less stressful, sitting on a train watching the scenery go by, and again I was very glad I went.