I opened my email absentmindedly, with only half my attention. I figured it was notification of a regular payment.
No, no it wasn’t.
I didn’t quite gasp but my full attention was engaged now, for sure. I can’t see Mom this Mother’s Day, as it turns out, and I’m damned if I see how I can show up for her either.
We’re coming up on the fourth anniversary of Mom’s death in June, so an ad in my inbox that assumes my mother is alive seems wrong. Inappropriate. Presumptuous. Inconsiderate. Ignorant. Risky.
After all, we’re not talking about a TV or radio or magazine ad or a highway billboard, clearly aimed at the masses. To misinterpret that as a personal communication would be illogical; to take offence would be overly sensitive. But an email from a company I do business with feels personal.
Maybe it wouldn’t have caught my attention except that I’m into a new phase. I’ve been through the go-to-tell-her-something-and-catch-myself-when-I-remember-she’s-dead phase, which lasted about six months. I’ve been through the I’ve-stopped-thinking-I-should-tell-her-things-because-her-death-has-sunk-in phase, which lasted for a few years. But in the last year sometime I’ve come full circle back to the go-to-tell-her-something-and-catch-myself-when-I-remember-she’s-dead phase, albeit without the same degree of anguish as the first time around. I don’t think it’s a sign of cognitive difficulties. I just figure I lived 65 years with her in my life and I’ve lived only 4 years with her out of it: Old habits die hard. Or not at all.
As to when random, mother-unrelated companies even started selling stuff for Mother’s Day and a whole three weeks before the event, I don’t know. I do know that I’m considering offering a service where I check ads for unforced errors like these. I mean, would this be so hard?
No, no it wouldn’t.
I think I’ll call Mom and tell her about it. She’ll think it’s funny.