My last blog was written in July of 2012 and it’s now March of 2013. It’s time to add a coda to my previous blog post for those who do not know me personally. I did decide to go and perform in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the end, with the hope that I would be able to return “in time” if necessary.
A few days after my arrival in Scotland, I had a conversation with my mother over Skype on one of the last evenings she was alert. I told her what a good time I was having and how deeply my audiences were moved by her story. (The last part was true.)
My mother’s final decline was thankfully rapid, not lingering and painful. When my sister told me over the phone that she had experienced a second episode of difficulty breathing and hadn’t finished her breakfast, I left Scotland within an hour to catch the first flight I could back to the States. I asked my sister to tell our mother that I loved her and was on my way back, but not to wait for me if she was suffering.
I did not return in time. But I am comforted knowing that my sister and brother were with her, that I had the honor of caring for her so intimately in her last months, and that in her final hours she was unconscious and comfortable thanks to the humane practices of hospice care. I now know that my relationship with my mother is not comprised of those last days and months of crisis, but of my entire lifetime, and will continue within me until my last day. And that she would approve of these words and, if she were still here, ask me to send her a copy.
I hope my mother continues to live on through my performances of her. Friends and strangers have told me they mourn her passing because they feel they met her through my play. She would be honored. And she would also want you to make sure to have a good lunch, hang your coat up in the closet, and vote Democratic.
I tell more of my mother’s story and her passing in my next solo show (in progress) entitled Animal Love, a comedy about dying pets and hospice care that includes rat cuddling, a surreal night at the Emergency Vet, and reverse-haggling over haggis at Dallas/Ft. Worth customs. Look for it in 2014. But not in Edinburgh. More about the “fun” I had there later…