Third and Final Notice
THIRD AND FINAL NOTICE
Springcrest Transitional Living
“The First Step to a Second Life”
1530 Green Meadow Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60610
June 24, 2022
Mrs. Lilian S. Freehling
1429 Aberdeen Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Dear Mrs. Freehling,
It has come to our attention that your mother, Mrs. Rose A. Hildeman, is nearing that delicate time of life in which her petals have begun to wilt, many even already fallen off, in fact, making this matter of decision all the more urgent.
Maybe you are thinking to yourself, Why me? Why should I have to be the one to store my mother’s—pollen, let’s call it, for this unknown period of time like some sort of worker bee, when there are plenty of other bees in the Hildeman hive, such as (according to our records), your two younger siblings or your father.
Let me speak frankly for a moment and tell you plainly that your father is not a bee. And even if he were a bee, if he is anything like my own father, he would rather pull out his own stinger and swallow it down his then-to-be-bleeding-throat than carry your mother’s pollen. Even if it were promised to him by the two thin lips on her fine-line-covered face that he wouldn’t hear a single utterance, not the smallest eep during the temporary storage period. Or that with the aid of cutting-edge medicines such as Silencia (which, might I add is on the brink of FDA approval, thank God), even the occasional accidental eep of, “Larry, you’re snoring,” or “Tacos again?” could be dialed down, so to speak, to a decibel of barely audible, or so I’m told.
But all eeps aside, your father is not a bee; he too is a wilting flower, and it is only a matter of time before he too will be standing on the lawn here at Springcrest, waving his cane at the nurses who, bless their hearts, will gently but firmly redirect his little wooden stick to the proper channel, that channel being you and the rest of the Hildeman hive, legally speaking, as of today at 10:36 AM.
But do not fret or contemplate pulling out your own stinger or flying at excess speeds into a wall of petrified honey, because as mentioned above, our file indicates that you are the eldest of three.
And while your test came back as the only Direct Match for your mother, there is, by my mother’s calculations, a good probability, a very good chance indeed, that your brother or sister will test as a Direct Match for Mister Hildeman, thus saving you from having to house both of your parents’ pollen in your cerebrum—specifically, in the angular gyrus of the parietal lobe, my mother is reminding me now, (always a stickler for scientific accuracy, haha!)—and having to listen to them squabble all day over the collection of pre-1965 dimes, which would have been worth a fortune had Somebody not removed them from the floor of father’s closet, where they’d been (happily) collecting dust for who knows how many (thirteen!) years, and taken to the bank, which is the situation my dear husband, being an only child himself, bless his heart, is in.
Maybe the thought of storing that pollen for an unknown period of time is like, Yikes! What if technology hits a wall of Roundup and there will never, ever, ever be a flower on which to land and shake free the pollen that is clinging to your foot like a scrap of toilet paper from the floor of a rest stop bathroom, and you will be stuck, flying aimlessly forever with that voice buzzing, “Pick up your feet when you walk,” or “Close your mouth for Goddsakes, you look like a trout.”
Let me pause for a minute to assure you that new technological advancements are being made daily! And scientists have repeatedly promised that Reanimation is on the brink of a breakthrough, only nine months or so away, in fact, they keep telling me every month on the phone, and speaking of nine months, my mother has pointed out that this would be the opportune time to remind you that, Your mother brought you into this world and she can take you out of it, haha!
But all jokes aside. Did or did your mother not say through shallow breaths, due to the shifting of her lungs and liver into her chest cavity, Make way, ribcage! so that you may be here today reading this THIRD AND FINAL NOTICE to schedule the procedure that your mother has confirmed both verbally and in writing on multiple occasions—morning, noon, and night—that she is ready to proceed with.
And how neat will it be when that day (so many of us from that initial trial pool have been desperately awaiting) arrives, that day when technology will raise its little GOJO-key and pull out that mush of plastic that has been sitting empty in the soap dispenser for nearly (in my case) two-and-a-half-years now, and just put it in the recycling receptacle to be processed into a water bottle or pocket change holder or anything really, so long as it is in its own container.
Yes, how neat indeed when, after that day of transferring that pollen into its permanent vessel, you will be able to look into your mother’s new set of eyes and say, There—now we are even—and perhaps even be the one to occasionally wag your finger and reciprocate that empty threat—and wouldn’t that just be the year of Mother’s Day laughs?
Although even on those Mother’s Days spent in limbo, still flying around with that pollen, as is the case for myself, dreaming of that day when that sweet nagging voice will be purged from your head, because as much as you do not want to stand, dressed in all black, on the edge of a forty-two inch wide by ninety-six inch long by six-foot deep dug up piece of dirt watching as they lower your mother’s body and mind via a lightly-lacquered casket (which may or may not keep out the eventual worms) into the ground, you also do not want to stab a fork into your own eyeball—even on those Mother’s Days, just think—never again would you have to him-haw in Aisle Two gawping like a trout at the wall of Hallmarks, none of which even remotely describe your mother, because instead, she would be right there along side saying, This one, you ungrateful spawn.
And there are other positives to this shared posteroinferior region arrangement, for example, if your mother is anything like my own mother, then she will always pipe up to remind you to say please after Every-Single-Directive. Even if, as Assistant Director of Patient-Surrogate Compliance, it is your milk frothing job to order people around; even if, god forbid, said directive in question was executed using a pleasant tone of voice in the first place—thereby CANCELING OUT THE NEED TO SAY PLEASE ALTOGETHER; as if saying please or thank you or using other polite words somehow negates the unfriendly demeanor that her former non-hugging physical body used to exude, the unfriendly demeanor which has a time or two recently, reared its ugly reflection in the mirror, causing wonder about the possible additional side-effects of the procedure on one’s own subconscious…
But honestly, that is just paranoia talking, (my mother is nodding her head in agreement) because studies have shown that while 93 percent of Direct Match Hosts have reported experiencing the voice-on-the-shoulder side-effect, there is no evidence (my mother is reminding me) to support the idea of that voice or any of its DNA matter migrating into other compartments of the brain, thereby accessing the ability to manipulate fine or gross motor skills, although, full disclosure, there is, in my experience, the occasional frequent itching (my mother is shaking her head no and mouthing the words, Fake News.).
Admittedly, it takes some getting used to at first, having that voice at the forefront of your every thought, chirping like a little cricket on your shoulder, just begging to be blasted with a bottle of Raid, but you know what? There is something about hearing that voice from within that actually mutes a lot of the shrillness my ears used to detect through the external auditory canal, my mother is telling me it is called, and how wonderful is that?
And sure, there have been the occasional times when my husband has uttered the words, You sound just like your mother, but really, doesn’t that happen to all of us at some point anyway?
Which brings me to a second possible checkmark in the “pros” column, which is, for example, maybe your husband is like mine, and every night instructing you to swing your leg up and over into that position that is not in the least bit comfortable, and just think how easily this discomfort could be dissuaded with a simple reminder that it is not just you he is banging, but also, technically his mother-in-law as well.
On the other hand, maybe you are wondering how in the heck are you going to pull up that video of the position you do like, the one in which, like, ten seconds tops, can fiddle your flute. Or other do things that you would normally do in private such as sing full volume to Lady Gaga or feel the breeze in your hair with the windows rolled down, pretend-smoking an imaginary cigarette (the way you did before you had children of your own or a set of elderly parents to carry into the next phase of life, or not, depending on what kind of bee you are) while driving through your hometown, casually glancing into the windshields of all the black Nissan Pathfinders that—Johnson, let’s call him, used to drive, daydreaming about say, The Me-Sandwich Fantasy, in which (close your eyes, Mother) POP—Ut oh, a nail has punctured your tire, and you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, but Oh, you’re in luck because here comes Johnson and his Hot Friend, who is in agreement with Johnson that it isn’t gay if they don’t make eye-contact with each other as they simultaneously fill your bratwurst with cheese, and Oh—here comes Johnson’s Hot Friend’s Hot Friend with a dollop of relish for the other side of your sausage, and Oh—two more Hot Friends just joined the picnic and are more than willing to suck the chocolate off your raisins, and…where were we?
Ah, yes—penetration. Maybe you are worried about the pain of transferring your mother’s pollen by way of fourteen gauge catheter into the occipitofrontal fasiculus, and that is certainly understandable. But let me assure you, the needle is not nearly as large as it looks in the trifold pamphlet.
And sure there is the occasional headache, but it is nothing that popping the lid off a bottle of Excedrin Migraine won’t cure—and actually what has worked for me is, instead of taking the recommended maximum two pills within a twenty-four-hour period, I will sometimes slug back a concoction of three- or four-pills dissolved in a shot of SoCo-Lime, and that seems to shut her up for a minute.
And even then, sure maybe there are times I’d like to and even on occasion do bash my head against a hard surface such as a wall or door, but what good does that do, especially when your mother is right there to remind you that Joanie, you are only hurting yourself.
We realize, Lily—can I call you Lily? We realize this matter is very personal indeed, intrusive even for some, and if your mother is anything like my own, which is a one-upper, meaning always having to have the last word, as she is trying to have right now as I am downing this pack of Silencia my husband has retrieved in exchange for Reverse Cowgirl, I can see how a procedure such as this might seem like, Yeah right— Over my Dead Body.
Which would be an example of irony, I think? Although I can’t quite confirm because Mother is “sleeping” now, thank God, but the point is that your mother has reached the time of life where her mind, which is perfectly sound, cannot survive without a healthy and able body, that healthy and able body being yours, so let me ask you again, what kind of bee are you?
Because let me tell you, if you know anything about bees, then you know that a killer bee comes from the same family as a honey bee.
Please do not act like your cell phone is creating an invisible wall of electromagnetic waves causing you disorientation and to not respond to this THIRD AND FINAL NOTICE, because obviously, you are not actually a bee, you are the firstborn, only Direct Match of Mrs. Hildeman, who is standing at my desk this very moment with tears in her baggy eyes like that actress from Titanic.
Look. There are people out there. Surrogate-Transporters, if you will, on whom you can attempt to, via DNA testing for an Alternate-Direct Match, pawn your daughterly duty off on—if you have the money for it, because Honey, it ain’t cheap.
But whatever you do, may I remind you, Rose’s petals are wilting. Wilting and falling off her thorny but soggy stem, never to grow back again, and if we do not hear from you within ten business days, you can count on a visit to your door from a man in a white suit with a mesh veil, and he won’t be knocking, he’ll barge right in, swinging his smoker, and he will harvest your honey while you are passed out cold—and thanks to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Dawson vs. Davis earlier this morning, he’ll have every right.
Assistant Director of Patient-Surrogate Compliance