It's coincidence but memorable things have always happened to The Complete and Total Loser on October 18th. Memorable to him anyway. In his childhood years these events were on the order of beloved pets disappearing, returning, fighting, or having offspring. As a teen and early adult, they involved major rejections and departures. Early in his middle years, in 1996, he was robbed at gunpoint while sweeping leaves outside his apartment on a bright autumn October 18th.
This time, now in his 50s, the date was the one the Loser heard official word from a doctor that his mother's life would end in a matter or weeks.
If you haven't lost a loved one it's always going to be a shock to hear that someone close to you will be dead in a determinate amount of time no matter how ill they've been.
The Loser's father seemed even more reluctant to accept this than the Loser, even though at 91 he's had several of his own close calls with death. The Loser attributes this to the momentum of nearly 59 years of life together.
"The only two people who've influenced my life are my mother and your mother," he told the Loser as the two sat in a tiny room near the ER room in which doctors were treating his mother. The Loser reminded his father that he did have three healthy sons, of which just one was a loser, and four thriving grandchildren, but his father was focused on his wife.
The Loser knows that when one spouse dies, merry widow stereotypes aside, the other often follows soon, but he had hoped that his father would be an exception to that. He has always been good around the house, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry for all; not the average man of his era who ordered pizza when the wife was out of town and couldn't run the dishwasher. Also, he has his own circle of friends and regularly does old-guy stuff. Prostate cancer support meetings. Discussion groups for Civil War buffs. Church gatherings despite his disbelief in an actual supreme being.
But now, judging from how he took the news Tuesday, the Loser is unsure of this. In just minutes the Loser saw his father age five years, which at his age is a lot.