My Mother would have been 88 today, as my baby Sis Kathy said earlier, "she wouldn't have been happy about it."...no she wouldn't have, not a bit.
One of the things I remember most about my Mom was how she stepped up to the task of handling every aspect of our lives when my Dad had a heart attack at 39. Dad was stricken back in the days when heart patients were told, "stay in bed and don't do anything for a year". Of course this pissed an active guy like my Dad off and he took his anger and frustration out on Mom. He wasn't violent with her but she became the wall he threw his shit at. He went from a pretty happy guy to an angry one and he was mean to Mom. She understood and never stopped loving him. What she did do was interesting, she threw herself into ceramics. Every night after things quieted down, Mom got out her green ware and scraped and smoothed and polished for hours. The entire house was asleep, I'd get up to take a pee and I'd see the lights on downstairs and there would be my Mom working on her ceramics at 2 in the morning. I'd get a glass of juice and we'd talk for a bit. Her ceramic production that year was incredible and every piece was perfect.
When I lived in Boston, Mom would come and stay with me. She loved Boston with all her heart, went to the library, the Historical Society, bookstores and coffee houses. She'd walk down to the Public Garden and feed the swans. One summer she brought my niece Suzie with her and they wore out a T-Pass.
My Mom was a reader and she had me reading before I started school. She laughed like crazy when my first grade teacher told her that when she was asking the 6 year olds if they could spell any words, I spelled "to be continued". She moved me from children's books, to serial graphics to newspapers and onto hard cover books. Thanks to Mom I was the book report champion from the 1st to 6th grade at Lincoln School. Her love affair with books lasted her entire life. Mom and I would do book discussions on the phone almost every week and we did right to the end.
She loved all of us and when we had our own kids they were loved as well and then when the great grand kids showed up there was plenty of room in her heart for them, too. My girls worshipped her and still do. She and my wife Jan had a superb relationship, I'd walk in the house and Jan would be on the phone with her. I'd walk the dog, make a drink and they'd still be talking. She told Jan, she was the best thing that ever happened to me.
My Mom was a good looking woman, one of those woman who age with grace and style. She walked into the hospital in high heels and died 4 days later. She was surrounded by her family as she drifted off. It was a gracious and good way to go. I've never been to a better funeral and one of the best things I've ever done in my life was, with the help of my nephew John, bring Mom's record player to the visitation and play her favorite music the entire time, from Glen Miller to Barbra Streisand and the Eagles. People were laughing and sharing memories of Mom, there were tears, of course. But the her overwhelming grace, charm and love filled the room. And that's as good as it gets, isn't it?
Mom is out there in the cosmos still watching over of us all.