Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Moms, Dads, Death and Mad Men

This post is coming from a sicky brain.  See, even that sentence right there didn’t make sense.  I have called work saying I’m sick, is what I’m trying to say.  Which is also why this post is coming to you a day late.  With frequent breaks to stretch on the bed and feel the fluid in my ears slosh to and fro.  It’s lovely.

A college friend’s mother passed away this week.  It occurs to me that my peer group is now hitting the age range where our parents are passing on (dying seems like such a rude word) to higher grounds more frequently.  Or not.  

Additionally, Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday.  I have other friends who are passing around links to articles about why you should stop hassling women who don’t want to have kids.  I rarely get hassled about why I don’t want kids.  I think all the righteous indignation I would get to spew would be fun.  Which is probably why God has mostly kept all those hasslers away from me.

I do hate it when I hear pastors in the pulpit talk about how you don’t understand God’s love for us until you become a parent yourself. And it’s insulting, not just to people like me who don’t want kids, but to the people who have been desperately trying to have kids and not been successful.  To generalize that there’s a dimension to God’s love that parents can access and non-parents can’t, well, shame on you for characterizing God’s love like that.  You don’t know how many dimensions of love God has.  Nobody does.

But while not everyone wants to be a parent, everyone HAS a parent, or a loved one, or even a liked one, and that means most everyone will have to experience the death of that person.

And that is something I rarely hear about from the pulpit.

“Grief waits” said my friend Tricia a long time ago, and while I am not fetal and sobbing on the floor yet (and I wonder if I ever will be), there are more times where that searing pricking behind the eyeballs sensation hits, and I’m on the verge of tears in odd places.

For example, I’ve been binge watching Mad Men, as I’ve heard it’s an example of great writing on TV and Netflix has the first five seasons on instant streaming, and I’m already caught up on Breaking Bad.

I remember Dad saying he liked watching it, and I said I didn’t watch it because I didn’t have time, and that was the end of that conversation.  But then again, we both watched Amazing Race and didn’t talk about that much either, so it’s not as though bonding through shared interests worked with us.

Having made it through season 3 so far, I can see why Dad liked the show.  That was his era, being a company man in the 1960’s.  Dad wasn’t an ad man, but he did spend time in the sales department of his company. 

One the nicest emails we received in the aftermath of Dad’s passing was from a former co-worker of his who was one of the only women hired in his department.  “Your Dad was the kindest, most professional, smartest, honest person I have ever worked with… he always treated me with the greatest respect and was a true gentleman.”

I’d like to think that Dad would’ve been similarly nice to Peggy in the Mad Men world.

And as I watch the lovingly re-created world of the 1960s, with its smoking and drinking and fashion (and lamps.  For some reason, I always look at the lamps in the set design), every now and then I whisper up to Dad, “You were right, Dad.  It’s a good show.”

And I hear the smile in his voice as he says back in my brain, “Yep.  I told ya so.”

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