At what age do you start reading the obituaries?
I swear, I would be clueless about who died without my father. He reads them every day on the toilet. When I was in college, he phoned to tell me my former best friend Nichele’s mother, Marni Klinsky, had died. Nich and I stopped speaking our senior year of high school. Still, years later, I stopped. I turned. I literally began to run for a train, in exactly what I was wearing, and headed straight to the funeral. I might have called work.
As much as I hate Todd sometimes, I had a life with him. I picked up his socks, pet his head when he was sick, laughed with him, traveled with him, borrowed his ties for belts, slept in his shirts, shared a toothbrush from time to time, definitely his razor, and I loved him very very much. We had a full real life together. When his maternal grandfather died, I wrote his obituary speech for him to give. Some people just don’t know how to say it, or what to say.
Today, I learned his paternal grandmother died. He was not close with her, despite seeing her often. That’s a long story, and not mine to tell. She was always kind to me, though, but I don’t belong at the funeral. Actually, unlike my immediate need to turn and run to the train, not one impulse in my body tells me to go. It’s not my life anymore, and I’m not a comfort to any of them. And I don’t want to be. It wasn’t my life anymore when Marni died either. But I went, and paid a shiva call. I loved Marni, and Nich Klinsky. I still do. I always will. I wanted to comfort Nichele and her brother Stew. I will always want that. I love them, depsite not speaking to them since college.
I know Todd doesn’t need my comfort. And I’m not sure I could ever give it. I guess I love Todd, but I also hate him for his recklessness. Relationships should have obituaries, so everyone knows what happened in a succinct line or two. I know his immediate family doesn’t need comfort, still, it’s a sad time, and it’s always nice to know people care. And I do… which surprises me. You only have one mother.