Where I work, whenever someone has an announcement, like a new baby, or a death in the family, or they’ve passed a certification exam, it gets sent to everyone via e-mail. It’s a nice way to keep up with people in our mid-sized office. We’re small enough that I always recognize the name, but large enough that I can’t always put a face to it.
Last week, an announcement was sent out that someone’s mother had been killed in a car accident. Today more details are known about funeral arrangements and all that and the info was passed along. This is going to sound horrible. But, I’m jealous. I’m not jealous of the woman who died, no, not at all. It’s not like that. I’m jealous of the daughter (the one who works in our office and who is twice my age). I told you this was going to sound horrible. Her mother was 81 years old. 81, that’s older than my grandparents. What a life that woman must have led. The mother lived through so much, born in 1930. How many memories she must have of her mother. How great it must have been to see her mother as a grandmother.
You, internet, have no way of knowing this because I haven’t told you yet. My mother was killed last year in a traffic accident. I don’t say “car accident” because although it involved a car, and a reckless teenage driver, my mother was driving her motorcycle. I don’t say “motorcycle accident” because then people assume it’s the fault of the motorcyclist. Even if my mother had been in her truck, she probably would have been killed. I don’t say “died” because “was killed” is more accurate, it’s more shocking, but more accurate. It feels (still feels) shocking, so why shouldn’t it sound that way. My mother was 49.
I’m jealous that this woman who works in the same office as me got to spend so much time with her mother. I have absolutely no idea what their relationship was like. So in my mind it’s the same kind of relationship I had with my mother, they must have been best friends. I’m jealous of the 30+ years my co-worker had with her mom, that I’m never going to have.
How crazy is that? When I hear news that someone’s mother dies what kind of crazy am I that my reaction is jealousy? Grief is a strange companion. So, I’m inappropriately jealous today. I’m sad for my co-worker’s unexpected loss. I know I should send a card. But I can’t bring myself to do it. I can’t find comforting words that aren’t a little snide. So I just won’t send a card, or an e-mail, or anything. I’ll just be inappropriately jealous.