Sorry to make you use one of your free NYTimes stories on this, but I want to talk about this bit at the end.
I was going to introduce them, but there didn’t seem to be any need. MacLaine came rushing toward her, arms outstretched. “I’m happy you came,” she said to my mother. And then, for a very long time, they hugged, neither of them saying a word, both with tears in their eyes. Maybe it was just the emotion of meeting a movie star, but it felt like something more than that, for both of them. For a moment, it felt as if Shirley MacLaine had become Aunt Marge again, but this time she wasn’t making that face.
“I will see you again,” she said, before she touched my mom’s cheek.
“I hope so,” said my mother, who looked happier than I’d seen her in years.
The idea that some perfect version of the people we love is only realized in death and that after death they can finally love us the way we have always deserved to be loved by them is so damn powerful.
That just struck me as I was finishing that story about what an enormous fucked-up emotional burden that guy’s Aunt Marge was. Even though his mom knows that, she still would be/is open to some version of her sister that can love her.