It was a shitty thing to do. Or not do, I should say.
A week after Mom’s funeral, my 24-year-old daughter asked me to look at a house with her that she was considering buying. It would be her first home, if she wanted it.
Two monumental moments in one week.
Afterward, as I pulled into her father’s drive to drop her off, he appeared.
This was not the norm—my ex-husband usually didn’t come outside when I picked up or brought home the kids.
But now it all made sense.
Now I understood why he hadn’t attended my mother’s memorial service or sent flowers or a planter or a sympathy card.
He had waited until he could see me face to face. Of course.
He walked around the driver’s side toward me, while my daughter got out. I lowered the window. Suddenly, I wondered if I should get out of the car, too.
Maybe he would offer a hug of comfort along with his belated condolences, and doing so through the window would just be awkward.
I touched the door handle, preparing to pull, but I stopped when he started to speak.
“So what’d-ja think?” he asked, turning away to spit tobacco juice from his mouth.
I was shocked. Almost speechless.
And relieved I had stayed in the car.
That was it?
My ex-husband’s greeting after the death of my mother was a question about a place he had already looked at. A teeny dwelling with hardly anything to offer. He knew what I would think. Still, I didn’t want to be rude.
We made small talk about the house, and he continued to spit as a knot formed in my stomach. A knot of confirmation.
He was a selfish jerk.
We were married for eighteen years, and he had known her for more than twenty—at least.
He could have come to her memorial service.
She was my mom. The woman who gave birth to me. Only 67 years old.
He could have sent flowers.
She was our three children’s “gramma.” The woman who taught me how to be their mother. Only eight months between diagnosis and death.
Not much time at all.
The length of a school year. Almost the length of a pregnancy.
My babies’— now young adults—first major loss.
He could have sent a card. Hell, he could have just sent a text.
“Hey, sorry about your mom.”
It was the least he could have done. I deserved—no, she deserved—that much respect. I cried as I drove home. I couldn’t believe it.
My ex-husband did not acknowledge my mother’s death to me. Not once.
And that is just shitty.
At the very least.
Aimee Ross has been a high school English teacher for the past twenty-four years and an aspiring writer for as long as she can remember. She completed her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing at Ashland University, but she also dabbles in fiction and poetry. She has been published on www.SixHens.Com and in Scars: An Anthology (Et Alia Press, 2015), Today I Made a Difference: A Collection of Inspirational Stories from America’s Top Educators (Adams Media, 2009), and Teaching Tolerance magazine.