Divorce can be a terrible thing, especially at times like these. If you still have any affection for the ex (and wanting to slowly, painfully choke the life out of them doesn't necessarily mean you don't care about them, let's be clear) it's difficult because you can't really be there for them. Not in the way you used to be. At the same time, one still feels the phantom responsibility and obligation and desire to do it anyway.
Same goes for natural disasters. I never wrote about it here, but during the dark days of the ice storm, the ex-man was hugely concerned about me. I received text messages that somehow got through that long first night when cracking, falling branches sounded like gunshots and cell service was spotty at best. His acute, long distance concern finally culminated in him purchasing me a generator, the Husky that provided life-giving light, warmth, and television during the almost two weeks of darkness we endured (I was not working at the time). At a family gathering that happened soon after, each cousin, uncle, and aunt, would greet me and the next sentence out of their mouths would be, "We heard Tom bought you a generator." It was a refrain repeated an incredible number of times (I have a big family). I know the Husky was expensive, but honestly, as I told the ex-man later, the PR alone would have been well worth it at twice the price.
It is for this reason and others, that I've come to think of the ex-man little less like Satan and a little more like Joe DiMaggio. This because while Joe's marriage to Marilyn Monroe didn't work out, that didn't stop him from rescuing her from various precarious life situations that followed their divorce, most notably that time he busted her out of the insane asylum after she was committed. Joe also stepped in and made all of Marilyn's funeral arrangements after her untimely death and, thereafter, made sure roses were delivered to her grave 3 times a week for the next twenty years.
While I don't expect to be committed, or to die an untimely death that would require such post-mortem lengths, I do nonetheless want to do something special for my own Joe when his mother dies. I thought about it for a while, and ultimately sent him something meaningful.
Of course, because it's us you're talking about, the situation would have to turn a little strange. The conversation went like this:
Dude. Open the box.