Tonight, we went to see the show No Wake at the E59E59 theater, which is now conveniently just a walk away from our apartment now. The show is about a divorced couple who is reunited when they learn that their daughter, who has been estranged from both of them, dies from suicide. They spend the play navigating their conflicting feelings about their daughter and each other.
I’ve wondered a lot about how my parents interacted with each other after Ed died and how it may or may not have changed. From what I can observe during my short visits home, they both seem shorter with each other, snap at each other more quickly, and are quicker to raise their voices at each other than when Ed was here. But what I also wonder, which I’m sure I’ve wondered about here, is whether they’ve actually discussed the many events that led to their son’s decided passing and what they could have done that contributed to it. Or is it all just denial, a matter-of-fact statement of “he’s gone, so now we have to move on”? Have they actually discussed it? Did they ever acknowledge to each other how sick their son was and how he needed help that they didn’t want to give him? Probably not given who they are. Would they benefit from it? I’m honestly not sure. If I could ever picture that conversation happening, it would be one of those conversations where no one ever truly says anything meaningful, and you are left feeling like you’ve just wasted a lot of time.
“She was sick,” they kept saying during the play. But they acknowledged how useless those words are after a while because how are you supposed to respond to that? What do words like that actually mean?
To me, they mean, someone had a problem, no one in his life who could feasibly help wanted to help over a span of decades, and now he’s fucking gone and the tears his parents may cry are just a bunch of crap. It’s a sorry excuse for all the times they could have helped and simply chose not to, or even worse… to ignore and look the other way, or exacerbate the situation by calling him names and criticizing him relentlessly. All that is conveniently forgotten once he’s jumped off a bridge and is gone now.
Well, I haven’t forgotten.