I had the opportunity to spend time at a local casino this past weekend. My reasons for being there were mostly food related, but there was “a pull” to do more. (I really wish they still had slot machines with arms that pulled down…that made the experience seem authentic.) My mom, when alive, loved the casino. Even after her terminal cancer diagnosis she went as often as possible. We, her adult children, would roll our eyes every time she swore she came away a winner. The thing is, she claimed she always won more than she put in. Really, Mom? Every time? But now that she is gone, I can’t enter one of her beloved casinos and not feel her there.
Maybe she was right. Going to the casino gave her the sense of being alive, of controlling the outcome, and of possibilities. When the cancer diagnosis gave her months to live, she didn’t want to travel or jump from an airplane or climb a mountain. She didn’t even want her family to gather around and spout loving sentiments. Nope, my mom wanted to go to the casino where she could hear the music of the machines, and watch people betting against the odds. Like her.
My time at the casino was short, but while there my daughter and I played some of Mom’s favorite machine games. We invoked her spirit… and won some… and lost some. It was hard not to imagine her smiling from heaven as we watched the slow, yet constant, choreography of geriatric people shuffling from machine to machine. Mom understood the feeling of time running out. Why not gamble on a few respite moments of happiness?