After my parents went to Florida, I wrote that it might have been the last time I ever saw them.
It was. At least it was the last time I saw my mother. She passed away last Tuesday, October 6. Although she was older than my dad, it was a surprise. He had been ill for weeks before and had almost died a couple of times – the hospital was even talking about releasing him to hospice care, but then he rallied and wound up going back to the nursing home to be with my mother, who was his life. Even more than his children were – she was the center of his universe.
But my mother, even though she was primarily speaking in Estonian toward the end (and unlike the non-Yiddish-speaking Boris Thomaschefsky in the song “The King of All Broadway” in The Producers, she actually did speak Estonian!) and wasn’t always sure who the people visiting her actually were, she showed no signs of any life-threatening illnesses. We all thought that in 2020, Willard Scott would say, “And celebrating her 100th birthday is Renate Bojic. She’s pretty as a picture and everyone just loves her.” (I don’t know which would’ve freaked me out more – Renate living to be 100 or Willard still doing those Smucker’s birthday tributes.) But one morning, the nurse went in to check on them, really being more concerned about Marko, and found Renate looking blue and her breathing labored. She was rushed to the hospital and was gone within 90 minutes.
And I am feeling – I don’t know what I’m feeling. I had an initial wave of sorrow. I haven’t decided if it was sorrow for her passing, sorrow for my not getting to see her again (that realization hit me the next in, of all places, my core class at the WAC), sorrow for my father — sorrow for who she was at the end of her life and who she’d been during my childhood. I’m relieved. I’m numb.
All I can think of is how much I wish I could tell her about Boston and how much I love it. But the woman she was since her stroke wouldn’t have gotten it – and the woman of the last 10 years probably wouldn’t have appreciated it. She would have told my dad that I thought I was so high and mighty, going on trips all over the place. We didn’t used to have that kind of relationship. Before I became more in touch with my own emotional needs, I could tell her anything. Once I became more self-aware (and I don’t think more self-absorbed), I couldn’t. She couldn’t take joy in my joys or my accomplishments. So I shared fewer and fewer with her in those last 10 years.
I feel numb. And sad (kinda). And determined not to live my life the way she lived it, which was letting life happen to her, not being pro-active, not taking risks.
Back to singing next week. Just had to follow up. And I suspect there will be another follow-up regarding Marko before long. Or maybe he’ll be on Willard Scott in 2023.