best* practices for when your mother dies

  1. As soon as she gets sick, start calling her every day just to check in. Be grateful for the years of therapy and the births of your own children that it required for the two of you to get close. (Unfortunately this is also a worst practice, since after she has died you will miss her daily at the time you used to call (as well as at all the other times.))
  2. Be privileged enough that you can take ungodly amounts of time off work to spend just sitting with her. Watch documentaries about the Queen. Knit. Do needlework. Talk at length about the extreme cuteness of her cat.
  3. When you get The Call, purchase boxes of Kleenex in many sizes and distribute them around your office, car and home. Future self will thank you, through streaming snot.
  4. Although it may feel like tearing off your own limbs, go to the funeral director before your mother has died and make arrangements. Be grateful, again, that she is a person who has made her wishes as to the disposal of her remains known for the last thirty years. If you are lucky, the funeral director will be hilarious and kind, and it will not be as excruciating as you had feared (although still plenty awful.)
  5. Immediately afterwards, go straight back to your job and immerse yourself in hard, complicated work. Or lie in bed in the fetal position for three months. Either way, it doesn’t seem to make any difference.
  6. Remember that book you read once that said that most people are psychologically resilient, and recover from grief faster than they imagine they will. Wish you could put your hands on that book so you could throw it across the room. Notice, eventually, that the only books you can read without skimming impatiently are hurt/comfort slashfic or narratives of surviving PTSD. Call your therapist.
  7. Finally, finally have a dream about her that is not a nightmare, a dream in which you are shopping for a camping trip and mutually decide to it is necessary to have Magnum ice creams, and the treehouse in the shopping center has a swing rope and you dare her to swing on it and so she does.

*more like least worst

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