The young doctor was attempting to verbally corral my mother, to no avail.
“But you see, Mrs. B . . . “
“No, I don’t see, young lady. I don’t see your point at all.”
“The episode you had was a . . . “
“Don’t say the word. Don’t say it again. I’m not going to die like my mother, from a stroke. I, my dear, am going to die from a heart attack. A massive, quick heart attack which will be over and done with quickly.”
The doctor was rendered speechless for a moment or two, as she absorbed what my mother had just said.
My sister gently intervened. “Mom, you don’t get to choose how you die. It just happens.”
I completely understood where Mom was coming from in that instant. She was done rolling with it.
Rolling with it, and rolling with the punches, are phrases my family uses to denote going with the flow. Get the one-two punch and roll with it to catch your breath as you determine your next move.
Mom was being hit with truly ill health for the first time in her life, in her eighties. She was having a rough year. Her control freak tendencies were in full bloom as life continued to throw curveballs at her.
Her insistence on how she would die might sound silly to you, but I was so tracking with her. She was saying, “Enough!” to the Universe, arguing with God, feeling misunderstood and put upon.
She knew she was heading toward death sooner than later—something most of us accept by our mid-eighties.
But the ultimate indignity, in her mind, was to not only have to head toward death while still so alive but also then to have to acquiesce to death however it was served up to her. My mother was not one to passively allow life to happen; rather, she carved out what she wanted with an iron will.
One might call it a God complex, wanting so much control.
Or, one might call it being painfully human in the face of a Universe that continues to show you how not in control of the show you are. And the beauty of it is, we are all in this situation. Some of us are clueless, however, as life takes it easy on us. Others of us wonder how the heck to handle the bevy of fastballs and curveballs coming our way. Some get a little of both scenarios.
I am more philosophical some days than others. Most days, I can admit that a power far wiser than me is in control.
But today, I’m feeling a bit feisty with what is being served up. If we each have to star in our own show, it seems life should give us the option for a shot at Best Picture, right?
I am channeling my mother this week.
Put me in the Director’s chair.