The Slowest Suicide


“Mom. I know it’s serious.” The nice thing about being an expatriate in a foreign land, is at times how far your family is from you, physically. I can listen to my mother panic, courtesy of Skype, and also look at sneak peaks of Cyber Monday sales.

“It’s ALZHEIMER’S!!!” She’s panicking on the phone, because her identical twin has a quick-progressing form of Alzheimer’s. Admittedly, that’s unspeakable awful, and I’ll never know what it’s like to look at your twin, and watch them slowly decline into a dark pit from which we all know they will never emerge. It… yeah, it sucks, but..

“But mom, if you have it, then you won’t remember soon anyway, so kinda….. why worry??”

Asshole Status: UNLOCKED!!!

I guess for me there’s simply a finite amount of things I can worry about (but don’t tell anyone, or I’ll lose my membership the Jewish New Yorker’s Club). I have my vanilla career, my kink work, my kids and the ex (who will shortly be receiving a court date to pay support!), and honestly, I’m at maximum capacity for shit that can keep me up at night.

“Maybe think about going on something like Xanax?” my friend from New York suggests. I could, but the last time I was on medication like that, I met my ex husband. And somehow, alcoholism just sounds more…. European. Like, I can imagine myself drinking red wine (which is funny, because I’m more of a white wine kinda gal), while smoking (I have asthma; I have no idea where these images come from) in my Parisian apartment (I…. where would I even keep the kids??), while I stare longingly over the Paris skyline. At times, I can TOTALLY see my life in film noir, if only I wasn’t so damn practical.

What DOES keep me up at night, is what I’m going to say to my family when they demand that I return to the US to take care of my mom. I mean, Alzheimer’s or not, eventually we all go tumbling toward an end… but unlike most of my women relatives, I have a proper career, not just a job. They understand the concept, but don’t grok the reality. The don’t realise the benefits of living in a semi-socialist state, as a single mom. And the truth is, my rejection of moving home will in fact be taken as a rejection of the superiority of the American lifestyle and, in truth, of their own choices. I CHOOSE Europe. I choose my career, my children, and I choose to help my family… not at the expense of my own happiness, but in conjunction with.

So, as far as worries are concerned, the Alzheimer’s doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the folks with long memories who may hold grudges.


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