Death just feels very, one size fits all
I'm here to spoil season 4 of Succession for you
By Jesse Mostipak in blog
May 17, 2023
Note: this was originally published in Weighted Tangents, my Substack newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.
Following the death of their father, the Roy children carry on with their lives almost as if nothing has happened. There are very few tears; their father’s death is instead wielded as a weapon, excusing bad behavior while facilitating yet another manipulative grab for power. This whole carrying on as if their parent hadn’t just died seemed so callous and cold to me, until my own mother died suddenly and without warning in late April.
The news came via email, and after a quick cry I pulled myself together and went back to work, spending the next few days blithely unaware as to the depths of my shock. I’d wake up, sob hysterically, wash my face, and go to work, establishing this new addition to my routine as perfectly normal. Listening to the soft plink of seeds from my everything bagel hit the kitchen sink, I debated whether or not I’d be taking advantage of the situation by requesting a few days off from work, before convincing myself that I was strong and that the loss of my mother—my childhood best friend, the woman I wanted to grow up and be—was something I could handle in my off hours.
But you cannot schedule grief. Armed with an updated to-do list generated from another meeting in a perpetual string of meetings, I sat at my computer and couldn’t move. Everything in my body slammed to a stop as the realization that my mother was now out of reach, forever, radiated throughout my body. Acknowledging that I couldn’t do my job, and that without letting someone know I would be heading towards a swift termination, I asked for time off and was met with waves of empathy that left me laying on the floor.
When your mother dies you realize with a certain clarity that everyone’s mother dies, that this is the biggest club you’ll ever be a part of, and that no one has told you about it until now. People who are not yet members of this group don’t quite know what to do with me, and there’s a pervasive expectation that I get back to normal as quickly as possible. I’ve been so bewildered by this that I spend hours Googling things like “how long to get over the death of your mother” to reassure myself that I haven’t violated some kind of social more.
Back in March I said that I wasn’t going to make any major life decisions for 18 months, but the time for fucking around is over. My mother died young, and family genetics may not be on my side. It’s not unreasonable to think that I’ve silently slipped past some invisible halfway point years ago, and that the time I have left on this earth is perilously short. I’m entering my relentlessly focused era, and I hope you’ll join me on the journey.
- Posted on:
- May 17, 2023
- 3 minute read, 497 words