A reincarnated post
August 1, 2015 by Thomas Wictor
Today I hung out with several of my mother’s friends from the Historical Society. It’s the first time I’ve seen them since Mom died. I have mixed feelings, since only one of them visited Mom in the hospital. A person who isn’t my favorite anyway decided to try and pick a fight with me about my father’s death, taking issue with the way I expressed how I experienced it. This didn’t bother me as much as it might’ve, because I’ve learned that people get hostile when you talk about things that scare them. I’ve decided to present a reincarnated post because the topic of conversation kept coming back to reincarnation.
They all ridiculed the idea. I’m a firm believer in reincarnation, because—to quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—”Anyone with even the slightest intelligence can come to no other conclusion.”
How’s that for belligerence? I guess I’m still angry at these people for not having the guts to visit my dying mother. They’re all going to die anyway! Staying away from Mom didn’t make them immortal. Just to twist the knife a little, I told them that when I had to go to the hospital in December, I had Tim take my picture so that I’d have a memento of what I look like dead.
As I’d hoped, my comment unsettled them. They should see this photo.
You have to admit it: I’m going to make a heck of a corpse, assuming that my face isn’t blown off by a jihadist or an octogenarian Nazi.
I didn’t let any of Mom’s friends know that I believe in reincarnation. But just to further freak them out, I told them about the dream I had four nights after Mom died.
She and I were on a tour bus trip. She was only about twenty-five. That’s her in the middle.
We sat side by side, not speaking. It was late afternoon, the light golden. I was my present age. The bus was quiet and had a very smooth ride. Everything was perfect.
When we stopped to eat at a restaurant, Mom said she had to wash her hands. There was a huge Catholic holy water font right inside the front door; it was made of red granite and had a white-tiled interior.
Mom climbed in and submerged herself up to her neck, vigorously rubbing her hands together. There was algae at the bottom of the font, beautiful bright green tendrils swaying gently as though in a cold mountain stream.
When Mom was five, her parents sent her to a Catholic boarding school after a newborn sister died, and my maternal grandmother went into severe postpartum depression. Nobody told my mother what was happening. She was simply sent away. Her letters to her grandfather are heartbreaking. She asks him to please not forget her.
At the Catholic boarding school, the nuns forced Mom to sit at the table alone for hours, not allowing her to leave until she’d eaten her mackerel. Mom hated mackerel. It was oily and fishy. She also hated being told what to do. Eighty years later, Mom made herself anorexic and died. Without knowing it, she was furious at her parents and at the way the nuns treated her, so she wouldn’t cooperate with us. She killed herself to avenge the child she once was.
We could never speak about her deep anger. She couldn’t admit to it, because that would’ve been criticizing her parents, which she was unable to do. Her entire adult life consisted of rebelling against them, though she couldn’t admit that either.
In my dream, she was instantly dry when she climbed out of the holy-water font. A waiter seated us.
“I want mackerel tempura,” Mom said to him in her campy, over-emphatic way. Then she winked at me. When the tempura arrived, she ate it with gusto. I was ecstatically happy.
I told Mom’s friends today that I took this dream as a sign from her. They all just stared.
Oh, the other things I could tell them! Coming to me in a dream is the least that my mother has done for me.
And now the reincarnated post.
Mom has died.
She died at 12:00 p.m., October 13, 2013, at the age of eighty-five.
Dr. Leberthon kept his word and saved her from pneumonia. She died of cardiac arrest, which occurred after she went into a coma. Her death was very peaceful. She simply stopped.
Thank you, Dr. Leberthon. Another miracle. You saved Mom from suffocating. I’m very grateful.
I’ll see you again, Mom. I’m doing as you asked and trying to get my writing career in order. I know you said last week that you wanted to learn how to use computers when you came home, but believe me, YOU’RE MISSING NOTHING.
The next time we get together, I’ll tell you about the truly amazing chain of events of the past two days. Indians who don’t speak English changing my hosting service without telling me. Discovering that on my domain registration, someone had changed my e-mail address to one in Brazil. Paying a fat Dutchman $89 for “premium support” and being completely ignored. Having a Frenchwoman tell me she’d fixed everything and finding out she flat-out lied, as though I’m a three-year-old who’d smile and toddle off to bed. It’s a veritable United Nations of sleaze.
In other words, it’s exactly like the United Nations.
No, computers are the one thing in existence that would’ve made you angry enough to use your cane as a truncheon. Remember how crazy Dad got when I was teaching him how to use his computer? And he was an engineer! You never even learned how to operate a VCR.
It would’ve been fun seeing you surf the ‘Net, though. You never got to see my Website. Guess what? NOBODY ELSE ON EARTH HAS SEEN IT EITHER. It’s completely invisible because of the robots.txt file. What is that, you ask?
No idea. But I can write anything I want here, with no repercussions. Very, very liberating.
Oh. My. God. I just realized something: You would’ve become a troll. Yup. There’s no doubt in my mind. That sweet demeanor hid a flame-war artist. The second you got online, you would’ve released the Kraken.
The cyber world doesn’t know the bullet it just dodged.
Goodbye, Mom. Next time will be better.
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