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Losing My Mother and Logan Roy Within a Week
Unfortunately, the HBO show Succession felt too timely.
Unlike Logan's, my mom's death wasn't unexpected. She started her fight against uterus cancer a year ago. Then took on new challenges— metastasic lung cancer, kidney failure, and unbearable pain. She did not collapse like Logan either. Instead, her pain grew weekly. One day she could walk from bed to the bathroom; she could not move an inch the next.
On April 8th, I took my mom to the emergency room at around 11 PM. A few days before, a palliative care unit gave us morphine, oxycodone, and many other drugs to reduce her pain. But none worked.
"We'll call you once it's your turn," said the nurse from the waiting room.
So we waited. Me standing up, my mom in a wheelchair incapable of even moving her legs. About an hour later, a nurse inserted an intravenous line to deal with her bloating but not with her pain. So we waited: my mom crying and me trying not to cry.
"Let your dad in; go home," my mom told me after getting pain medication.
Only one of us could be in the emergency room. I told her I loved her and we would see each other tomorrow and left.
But that didn't happen. The next day, her pain burned just as much. I bought a pizza to watch Succession's latest episode to space out for an hour. The first minutes showed the usual plot. Logan controlling everyone, his kids trying to screw him over and people trying to get something out of him. Fourteen minutes in, Roman, his son, receives a call saying his father collapsed. He's dead. I empathize with his kids. Then I laugh at the show's dark humor. Then I felt immense sadness because I knew my mom would die. Not unexpectedly, but in the following hours or days.
The episode from April 16th starts showing each children's grief process:
Connor is sad but acts as if nothing happened
Kendall feels knocked out, isn't sleeping, and hasn't shaved
Siobhan looks aesthetically put together yet remains numb
Roman is in denial of what has happened, saying he pre-grieved
"Which of the kids will I resemble?” I think.
Today, April 17th, the day my mom died, I’m playing a mix of all. I look as if nothing happened, I'm numb and knocked out.
Part of the reason I seem and feel put together is that I grasped, at least to a significant level, if such a thing exists, that my mom would die. And I do not mean I knew on a mental level she would die; I always did. But that my body, mind, and soul came to terms with her eventual death. This was clear to me a few days ago at the pool. I covered my nose and sank about a dozen times, thinking about staying down forever, what I'd do next, and how this would change my family's dynamics. Different reflections, but all connected to a time and space I was thrown into sixty days ago and still don’t know how to navigate.
Sixty days ago, my mom began going to the emergency room weekly. Sixty days ago was also the last time I experienced time as most people do. Since then, every experience I have had feels like part of a timeline I didn't take part in. Like part of an ancestral memory or dream. Or one of those memories you have from your early childhood—you kinda remember living that memory as a 4-year-old, but you truly don’t remember it.
I intellectually understand that I'll not remain apathetic for the rest of my life. Connor, Kendall, Siobhan, and Roman know this too. That same day, Connor got a house, and Kendall and Roman pitched themselves as the new leaders of their dad’s company. It will take me longer than the Roy kids to make big plans. But I also understand and feel I won't return to my past timeline either.
My upcoming experiences will reveal themselves as episodes of a show I wish I didn't have to watch, but I'm ready to.