A few weeks later on Mother’s Day we’d all planned to visit Gig in her trailer. We were going to do chores for her – home repairs and deep cleaning. Her father had lived independently his whole life, until he passed at 98 years old, an avid cyclist and flirt. We had wanted her to have the same freedom. After a series of driving scares, culminating in in her coming to facing the wrong way on a six lane highway, we had taken her license. I had been buying, cooking, and portioning out her meals in microwable containers, a week’s worth at a time. I was a new mother, but always made time to help her.
When we arrived, Giggy was acting strange. For one thing, she was naked, not decked out in one of her dozens of nearly identical muumuus. She was feverish and rambling. We thought she was having a stroke. We spent maybe an hour debating whether or not to call 911. Let me repeat: we thought she had a stroke so we spent the next hour deliberating whether or not to try to save her life. Giggy had always told us not to save her. “Pull the plug! Do not resuscitate!”
The aunt charged with Giggy’s power of attorney called the trailer, and she didn’t need any time to reach the right conclusion. “Call 911 NOW!” We did. They came. They whisked Gig away in an ambulance. Right about then my mom got a call: her father was dying of cancer in another state, on hospice, with only days left. She and her two full blood sisters had the unenviable task of deciding which parent to be with when they died. My mom flew out to be with her dad.
Those of us who stayed behind were first to learn Gig hadn’t suffered a stroke at all. The doctors told us she had a post operative infection gone systemic, and h by the way, why didn’t any of you mention her extremely advanced Alzheimer’s anywhere in her medical records? My idol, my God, had fallen. She wasn’t sparkling and witty and charismatic anymore. She was just an old angry bigot with paranoid delusions.
Raised as I was to follow obediently, losing my leader didn’t make me want the new freedom that had been thrust upon me. It made me desperately crave a path, a leader, a cult to follow. I tried forming new identities now that my old (imposed) one was stripped away. I fought in the trenches of the Mommy Wars, convinced there was only one right way to parent a baby (and I and the bloggers I emulated were doing it.) I also very briefly signed up to sell for an MLM (pyramid scheme). I never did get paid but I got more free supplement powder than anyone could want.