Aging Parents · Anxiety · Family

Golden wisdom 

I grew up in a house in which the TV was almost always on, at least in my memory. There was always some sort of noise in the background, and it has made me a sort of silence-phobic person as an adult. It has manifested itself in a sort of weird way lately, in which I will have on a show I know in the background, but I make it a bit situationally appropriate. When I am working on the computer, I listen to The Office. When I was just out from surgery and doing a lot of active recovery, it was Scrubs. Now it is hot outside and I am doing the day to day operations of my home. For reasons I am not sure of, I’ve been listening to The Golden Girls.

If you know me well, you know that I’ve seen this series multiple times already. I love these ladies and their 80’s dresses. I’ve been a huge fan of Bea Arthur my entire adult life and I enjoy her humor and delivery above most other actresses. She’s the main reason I considered Beatrice as a name for Daughter, though it didn’t win out in the end. One of the reasons I think this 80’s classic holds up is because not only is it funny when dealing with the mundanities of the lives of the four stars, but it tackled some more serious issues. There have been episodes about maintaining your vitality as a woman in your old age, sure, but also about IVF, prejudices against the overweight, homosexuality, gay marriage, and all sorts of prejudices. The show was real and really funny, and I love it.

Just the other night, I had a nightmare about my mother. I should have known they were coming because I am a person who has anxiety visit her in vivid detail at night. Of course, in the dream, my mother died. My family and I were all in the hospital and there was all sorts of fighting. My family was attacking each other and being horrible. And then the Golden Girls showed up.

I had seen an episode a few weeks ago in which Sophia, the eldest and the mother of Bea Arthur’s character, Dorothy, is gravely ill. Dorothy says, “If she dies, I’ll be an orphan. Can you believe it? I’m over fifty years old and I’ll still feel like an orphan. It doesn’t matter. You lose a parent, you might as well be six. It’s scary.” I think that’s why they came. I needed Dorothy, in her long, shiny, pink gown, to tell me that I was going to be an orphan, but that I was going to be ok.

What the dream prophetic? I don’t know. Mom seems a hell of a lot healthier than I do at the moment, so who can say. I know I won’t feel ok when it does happen. I know there are some parts of me that won’t ever be the same.  But I also know, somewhere inside, that I’ll be ok eventually.

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