If My Mother Gets Covid-19, I Don’t Think She’ll Tell Me
Disclaimer: if you disagree with me, that’s fine and your right to do so. However, I am not one to fight on the internet, so if that is your intention — please look elsewhere.
As a shock to no one Trump has tweeted to not be afraid of Covid. After “going to school, the real school,” and “learning” about it, he has emerged, bloated, and indoctrinating his followers like a true sociopath.
I called my mother on October 1st to wish her a happy birthday. We ended up speaking for two and a half hours, which for us, is extremely long. We text every few days, but it’s usually dog photos (her) or cat photos (me). Ever since my father passed away, it feels like every conversation we have has a mention of her mortality. This time it was about getting old, of course, she’s sixty-three with more energy than I’ve ever had, and it eventually turned political.
A woman who has lived across the street from us my entire life and is a close friend of my mom’s, it sounds to me, is taking the pandemic seriously. She won’t hang out with my mother or “leave her house,” though I am unsure how severe this actually is. The fact is, she won’t be around my mother because my mom thinks that people are taking Covid-19 “too seriously.” Now, with Trump leaving the hospital, I am worried that this is just going to add fuel to the fire. I tell her 200k people are dead but she still compares it to the flu. I can’t figure it out.
I drove home for the holidays in 2009 to find a quieter house than usual. I didn’t hear the hum of my father's two oxygen tanks because one wasn’t cutting it anymore and was immediately greeted with a “dad is in the hospital.” I wish I could say this was the first time. So, we go to visit. We open presents. He died a few days later. Another instance of this hesitation to disclose medical information: my mother trimmed her lawn and a rock hit her in the eye. She underwent surgery, almost lost it, and told me about months after the fact like it was no big deal. I am so afraid during the pandemic I will lose my only living parent. My greatest fear is that she won’t tell me until it’s too late.
She and I agree on every human issue. My first Christmas she bought me a white Barbie and a Black Barbie with the little money we had. She screamed at my father when he muttered a racist remark when I told him who wanted to take me to the 6th-grade dance. I stopped going to my church’s youth group because they were saying homophobic things that insulted my friends. My mother is an ally of the LGBTQA community and proudly wore a shirt I gave her from my college internship when I assisted with Kalamazoo Pride. My mother is truly kind to every person, no matter what, and taught me to do the same — somewhat toxically, if I’m being honest. I told her the reason I hate Trump is because of how she raised me.
I didn’t fight with her. I sat, scrunched on the couch, with my hands shaking trying to get her to understand. I told her how Trump’s Supreme Court candidate will try to overturn Roe v. Wade. My mother, who dropped out of school at fourteen, is pro-choice, didn’t know that that was a possibility, and can’t say why she supports Trump other than” he’s a real person,” “he’s created jobs in factories”… that’s it.
I told her how Trump insulted Biden’s kids at the debate and all he did was turn to the camera and say he was proud of his son. He didn’t say anything about Trump’s family. My father, grandfathers on both sides of my family, and I all struggled with addiction (I still do). My mother replied, “that was classy.” She thinks that people should be able to do what they want to do. She did everything she could so I had the opportunity to be the first in my family to go to college and now, says that education makes people “go that way,” meaning transform young adults into some sort of heightened-liberal-monster that Fox News crams down her throat.
She remarked that because my partner’s parents are liberal I “have a lot of influence,” to which I took offense. Alternatively, she does not have anyone in her life that regularly speaks to her about wanting to vote for Biden, I imagine. Regardless, I have had the same ideals and interests since I was sixteen and lived in her house and they came entirely from her.
She couldn’t give an example or answer the question I calmly asked, “how is your life better now?” She said she isn’t good at debating. I gently reminded her I wasn’t trying to start a debate — especially not on her birthday — but I wanted to explain my point of view. I, of course, hoped I could change her mind by sharing information with her I had been too scared to divulge. I told her my high school boyfriend whom she’s always had on a pedestal had his hand broken by a cop at a protest in Portland. Could she really say that he deserved it? I told her my partner helped out a law firm this summer that refused to represent a man from Wisconsin who wasn’t protesting but drove to the Twin Cities to burn down a gas station. I told her friends of ours got Covid-19.
She remarked that I was more informed than she thought, that she figured I was just a “follower.” Deep down, I know this is less-so about me and more-so about what she hears “Democrats” are like in general. She was shocked to hear me say that Biden is (obviously) problematic as well.
We changed the subject and she said that the call made her day. It was emotionally draining since we avoid talking about politics because of the screaming/crying matches and name-calling that have occurred in the past. All in all, it was a positive interaction. Since she finally has Netflix I begged her to watch Grace & Frankie. She continued texting me that night that she loves Lily Tomlin and called me to say all the music at the end of the episodes is so great.
I am hoping that she thinks of me when she hears something that is clearly false or skewed, but above that, I hope she doesn’t get sick because of it. That’s all I can really do at this point… other than vote.