This morning I was blessed with a phone call from a girlfriend who’s mother died last month. I was glad to hear from her since I’d been meaning to check in and see how she’s holding up. Immediately, as if on cue, she did exactly the things I’d expected: she mourned for Mama, she choked up and cried, she gave me a run down on the funeral even described the cream dress she had worn in the casket and expressed how deeply she wished they had spent more time together before she died. God bless her heart. I wanted to listen and I did. I wanted to tell her things will slowly (much too slowly) get better. I wanted to let her know that the intense sob sessions would eventually lessen and one day she’ll wake up and feel like she is back inside her skin. I didn’t, however, get around to my little speech because partway through her talk, her tears froze, mid plunge, and her sorrow switchbladed into anger. I’m not sure when it happened. I guess I was too trapped in my head, too busy planning my response, to notice. Her sadness I could handle but her anger gripped me by the small of my back while smashing my tongue with a tiny hammer. Here’s the story: my girl is pissed to the peak of pisstivity (thank you for that perfect turn of phrase Madame Gigi, my high school French teacher). She feels like her mother’s assets are being stolen from her and as her daughter, she has a right to what Mom has left behind. You know the rest of the tale: the saga of deep suspicion, the I-never-liked-him-anyway mantra, the sense of being abandoned twice, once by the death, then again by the withholding of money or items that rightly should be hers. It’s all so messy, isn’t it? We’re left empty-handed, often literally and figuratively. Then the property issues rear up and we get to see how damned ugly Mama’s baby brother can be. We settle in on a warm Saturday evening with Netflix and french fries ready to have a good night of weeping but instead the rage creeps in and blows the whole thing. Perhaps the anger even PROLONGS the grief. Two fighters egging each other on. All I could do this morning was uhhuhuhhugIknowwhatyoumean as my friend spewed, spit, cussed and sputtered. I’m glad she has an attorney and he will no doubt know just how much to charge for her indignation. Hopefully she’ll get the coffee table, the photo album AND the proceeds from mother’s 401K. Then maybe she can stop seething, return to sobbing then call me back. I’ll know just what to say.