Confusing Feelings

Tuesday night, as I was writing a blog post about my streetcar ride home, Phillip told me it was OK to write about his mother. He never told me I couldn’t write about her, but I haven’t because I’m confused about the whole thing.

Phillip mother died last Sunday.

We didn’t like her. We didn’t like her because she hated us. I’ve been taught not to speak ill of the dead, and that’s part of why I’ve put off writing about this.

Phillip took Monday and Tuesday off. He lost his mother, after all. I won’t try to describe his feelings here, but I’ll say this much: He’s in mourning, and he’s confused.

I think going to see Coco, a movie about Día de Muertos, was therapeutic for him.

I met Phillip’s mother only once in the 20+ years he and I have been together. It was shortly after Phillip and I met. We flew to Spokane to visit her. We stayed in a hotel, and ate in restaurants. I saw that Karyl was a charming woman, with a great sense of humor. She was a very good Scrabble player. Mostly, though, I saw that she was a bitter and angry person who vocally hated anything that didn’t conform to her world view. Being around her became an unpleasant experience after a short time.

From the stories Phillip has told me, I’ve learned that his mother was a different person – a playful, happy person – when he and his siblings were growing up. (There’s a great story about her playing catch with a jar of mayonnaise.)

Phillip kept in touch with her for years. Then, after too many Christmas cards addressed to “Phillip and the pets”, he broke off ties with her and asked her not to contact us. We’ve declined invitations to family gatherings because she’d be there.

Phillip’s family members have had varying levels of contact with her.

There will be no funeral. There will be a family gathering of some sort next year. Phillip and I plan to go.

I haven’t been able to sort out my feelings. I don’t know how to feel about the death of someone who hated me.