LootI have been feeling guilty recently because I have been, from time to time, hoping I will share in whatever money my mum left behind. (And I know it isn't much -- a small life insurance policy and some bits, whatever.) It feels like I am ready to loot the corpse.
It's not that I have money troubles particularly. I have a relatively small credit card debt and I'm a bit worried about paying for moving home, which I will have to do shortly, and I suppose I'd like to take my kids to the UK next year so they can spend time with my family there. But I live within my means more or less, and I can cope with what's upcoming.
And not even that I feel entitled. I don't. I want my dad to be able to enjoy his retirement. I hope he will sell his house and use the money maybe to buy somewhere smaller, maybe to do some of the things he had hoped to do with mum -- whatever brings him joy and comfort. Whatever his failings -- and the apple has not fallen that far from the tree, they are no worse than my own -- he has always taken the responsibility to provide for the people he loves seriously, and it did not end when I (finally) left home. He has often supported me and bailed me out. I wish I was able to return the favour now he is older, although I don't think he needs it at all.
But I have never been particularly good at acquiring wealth. I am content with what I have. Like everyone, I have stuff. Way too much of it. I have not had a hungry day for many years. I have a drink when I want one, a pack of smokes from time to time, a pipe of weed. I know that we can always spend more if we have more but I do not yearn for more. I have always thought the things that are really worth something are not measured in money.
Yesterday was Zenella's birthday and Zenita was upset because she thought Zenella had had more than her. I said to her, But I took you and your friends to the cinema and to Max Brenner's for deluxe chocolate, you have forgotten. I said, What I bought you, just you, in Max Brenner's cost more than the little things I got for Zenella and we spent pretty much the same on your big present. I told her about my childhood, when I would have one thing for my birthday, just one, and I was never discontent with that. I had everything I needed.
I said to her, Stuff doesn't matter. I would give up all my stuff, everything, and every spare dollar I have for the next 20 years to have Granny for those years.
But I cannot. There is no god for me to bargain with. I could not do anything to give her even one more day. And nor could anyone else. A pulmonary embolism cannot be bargained with. That is how life, and death, is.
I could write a tribute to my mum. She was a beautiful woman: not just physically but spiritually too (and I don't mind using that word when I talk about her -- I don't mean that angel bollocks she indulged in; I mean that whatever we consist of, whether we are souls in corruptible bodies or machines that think we are something special, she exuded the human spirit). Only after having my own kids did I start to understand the patience and kindness that lay at her core, that I cannot begin to match, although I do try, I do.
But I won't. My tribute to my mum will be to try to become the man she thought I was. I know that my dad, if he reads this, will tell me how proud she was of me. I know she was. I know she loved me more than she loved anyone or anything else in this world. That is why it is so hard to live without her. You cannot lose that much love and shrug it off.
And I know I am doomed to fail. Because I have never been worthy of much love and I have never been much to be proud of. But I have to try. Because ultimately I do not want anything from Mum. She already gave me everything she had. She doesn't owe me anything now. But I owe her.