Sunday, November 21, 2010

My friend Kathleen told me that when Mom died, my life would forever change.
She was right.

Mom passed over on October 28th at 3:27 a.m. The Redhead and I were with her during her last moments on earth.

It was very quiet and peaceful, her going.

Now that Mom is gone, I am alone.
I had no comprehension of how deeply she loved me. She loved me without limitation.
"I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new,
I'll be looking at the moon--
But I'll be seeing you."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Email to the Redhead This Evening.

Sarah Palin talks about "Momma Grizzlies". Heh. She's never met me and "Tenacious R.", my new nickname for my sister, The Redhead.

The below email is from me to Tenacious R. I was questioning what we share Mom at this point in her life.

My idiot cousin Richard sent an email to Tenacious. Richard requested Tenacious read his email to Mum and being the most awesome daughter ever, she read it to Mum.

I find everyone's sudden intense interest in Mum questionable. She's been sick for ten years; where have they been this whole time?

My email to Tenacious after seeing what Richard wrote to my Mum:

The last couple of days have been filled with unexpected emails! I believe this is par for the course because we sent out an "everyone" email. Naturally, people are going to respond.

Let's talk about the content of the emails that we read to Mum. Being a dutiful and awesome daughter, you read her Richard's in its entirety. I asked Mom what she thought about it and she said it was fine and she liked it. Richard had every good intention with his words, but here're my thoughts.

We agreed not to tell Mom about certain things because she doesn't need mental trauma. Mom can't do anything else but think at this point. So we have to be super-careful about what we say, read, share, do. I think this is a good plan.

Richard-- although well-intentioned-- wrote a really nice email until the last three paragraphs where he started asking Mom if she'd accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Here are my thoughts:

- Mom has led a blameless life. She doesn't need to ask forgiveness from anyone.
- This "anyone" includes Jesus, who knows Mom has led a blameless life.
- Jesus knowing this about Mom guarantees her acceptance into Heaven.

The only thing Mom has been guilty of in her entire life is loving people she could have easily cut out because they treated her like shit (Dad). But this guilt of Mom's actions exists on OUR plane, in OUR dimension, which is why we're thinking, "Hey. Why does she still love Dad as much as she does and unconditionally?" Mom is and always has been on another plane; a plane where people love one another, no matter what. Which is why she loves Dad, along with all the other complicated reasons she loves him. Which is why she doesn't need Jesus' forgiveness.

This is why she appreciates and loves Richard, despite his email asking her if she's been "saved". She gets what he was trying to convey and she appreciates it.

My concern:

One email gets read to her that plants a seed in her brain. The seed grows. Mom begins to think about that thing that's been planted in her brain. She obsesses, she thinks about that thing. It's stuck in her head. So there she is, waiting for nurses to take her to the bathroom, waiting for pain to leave, waiting for food, waiting, waiting, waiting, and this completely unnecessary thing in her head is poking her brain pan, because she can still think.

I don't want anything to worry Mom in her last days. I want her to be completely at peace with every single decision, every single thought. I want her to be surrounded by love and comfort. I don't want the possibility of someone's "best intentions" fucking her all up in the head.

We have to guard her against things that might hurt her or worry her, whatever it may be. What if Mom didn't have a religious conviction and Richard sent her that email? For all he knows, she has no religion at all. So if Mom didn't have beliefs and Richard sent that email and we read it to her and suddenly she's pre-occupied with "Am I going to burn eternally in a pit of fire?" when she should just be loved and comfortable-- what a fucked-up end to a perfectly beautiful life that she's led for almost EIGHTY YEARS. Because we read something to her. From Richard. Who has had his head up his ass for most of his life.

With our conversation about (friend of Mum's) Michelle, who said in effect, "If there's anything I can do, please let me know AS LONG AS I HAVE TIME TO DO IT ON MY SCHEDULE AND I ACTUALLY WANT TO DO IT,"; Debbie with the "I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT YOUR MOM FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS BUT HAVEN'T TAKEN THE TIME TO VISIT BECAUSE I'M TAKING CARE OF MY MOM WHO'LL LIVE TO PISS ON MY GRAVE" and various family members'- "WE LOVE YOU AND HAVE GREAT MEMORIES OF YOU, BUT HAVE YOU ACCEPTED JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR, IT'S SO EASY TO DO"-- I'm of the opinion we need to be very careful about what Mom knows from these jokers.

There are so few "real" people. These are the people Mom needs now-- Harriet, Dell, Joyce, Anthony, Mary Jac., our family (My niece was THE QUEEN today- tell her I love her), Marcella and Howard, and anyone else who DESERVES to be with Mom and not only that, be real. Real.

I love you, Tenacious. You are the best. xoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Your Troubled-- Yet Optimistic and Clear-Headed-- T-Bone.
P.S. Sorry to be so Momma-Bear. This is my first experience with these feelings. All's I've gotta say is... NOBODY. Had better fuck with Mom's comfort, safety or emotions from here on out. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to take on whatever and whoever, and I know you are too. I swear to (Richard's) Jesus, I will personally have anyone's head on a fucking platter that tries to make themselves feel better by fucking around with Mom and making false promises, or lying about ANYTHING in relation to Mom.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

La Queen

My beautiful friend "Q" passed away on Wednesday, September 21, 2010.

If you'd met her, you'd think to yourself, "How is it someone so beautiful can be so down-to-earth? She is priceless. I want her in my life forever."

I tried to have her in my life forever, but unfortunately, she left last week.

Her name wasn't "Q" of course. She had a real name, but I, in my insistence on giving all my friends and family nicknames, called her "La Queen". She did not like that. So I changed it to "Q", for "Queen", because dear reader, she was a queen. She was not aware of this fact. This was a large portion of her appeal; her complete ignorance of the effect she had on all those she met.

There are so many things I long to say of her here, but they have to be left for another time.

In the meantime, I'm storing things in my head to tell you about her, because she was amazing and I want you to know that she was here. God, I loved her. So many people did.

In the next 24 hours, every single beautiful thing you experience-- whether it's a song on the radio, a soft word from a friend or lover, a clear night sky, a delicious piece of pie, anything-- that is what Q was like to me. And you know what knowing her would have been like.

I love you, Gina. Gina, I'll miss you until the end of my days, then I'll see you again, my good friend!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Damn You.

I curse the day we met.

I would have been better off had we not met.

I miss you. Where are you?

Could I please be given a tiny scalpel-like instrument that will easily remove the part of my brain that remembers you? I want to scoop out the part of my brain that remembers you. I want it scooped out and thrown in the garbage disposal. Then I want to turn on the cold water tap and turn on the the switch that will emulsify this tiny portion of my brain. I want it to wash into the wastewater pipe in the parking lot below my apartment.

Then I want to continue my life, completely innocent of that moment we met.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Are Nearing the End of the Road.

About three weeks ago, Mom descended into a new phase of her illness. She's slipping away. The light is gone from her eyes; her strength is gone; the few pleasures she had left are no longer enjoyable.

For the first time, The Redhead and I have been exchanging ideas about Mom's memorial service. The topic of Mom's memorial service was alluded to, but never approached with such openness between us. With Mom's recent change, our conversations have diverted easily to this topic, probably out of necessity more than anything.

Before Mom lost her power of communication, The Redhead approached the memorial service with her, but Mom waved it aside. Now it is impossible for Mom to share her wishes, so we're in a strange land without a compass.

The Redhead and I discussed music and poetry that'd be nice to incorporate in this event. We've agreed on several pieces of music and have shared quotations we will integrate into the service. We've pondered where the service should be held. We've agreed where Mom's ashes should be spread. We have pledged to one another a portion of Mom's ashes will be spread at the family plot in Illnois, while another portion will be spread on a particular mountaintop in Colorado, where, as The Redhead put it, "She'll always have her beloved view."

With this change in Mom's condition, I've discovered those things that were hard to face have suddenly become so easy to understand and grasp. I think it's acceptance.

I think The Redhead feels more acceptance these days too, although she'd tell you differently. Before this change, we'd draw from our bottomless well of anger to rail against the oncoming train that was about to crush our Mother. We'd get angry at her disease, angry at her, angry at the staff of her facility, angry at friends and their perception of her disease.

Now we see that not everything has some kind of answer or solution. There are things in life that are truly uncontrollable, devastating and cruel. All we can do--and all we want to do-- is cushion Mom's fall.

Often, I find myself trying to imagine what life will be like without Mom. These aren't detailed, cinematic imaginings; they are thoughts-- floating and unformed.

When I lived in faraway cities, Mom was always with me; I could talk to her on the phone and hear her voice; I could write a letter and receive one in return; I could visit her or she'd travel to me, and we'd be together.

This time when she leaves, she will still be with me; but I'll search the world and as hard as I'll try, I won't be able to find her.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


People ask me why I've never married and I tell them it's because I've never been asked by a man I loved to marry him, nor has a man who loved me asked me to marry him. You have to kind of be on the same page.

But I think more than anything else the reason why I've never been married is because men are a pain in the fucking ass.

They'd say the same about me, and that's perfectly fine. I KNOW I'm a pain in the fucking ass.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Wedding Industrial Complex.

A wedding: the legal and spiritual contract of two people who love one another and want to bind together for the rest of their lives. Beautiful in its simplicity-- two people find one another, fall in love, decide to spend their lives together-- a wedding ceremony seals them to one another. On that day, heaven shines its light on two fortunate beings and fate smiles upon them for having found their way to one another.

But because we're human, a thing that should be kept meaningful and private will eventually morph into a complicated and messy perversion of the original intent. The Wedding Industrial Complex (TWIC) is to blame.

TWIC is comprised of businesses who insist their presence in YOUR wedding is a must--florists, calligraphers, photographers, venues, DJs, caterers, dress makers, tailors, hairdressers, make-up artists, limo drivers, party rental places-- or your day (and thus YOU) will be a complete failure. TWIC wants a slice of your wedding day. TWIC will weasel their way into your plans and your wallet.

Used to be the bride bought a dress, the groom wore a suit. The couple showed up at an appointed time at the church of their choice, their families and some close friends witnessed the ceremony. The cleric read a few words. The groom put a ring on the finger of the bride. They kissed and left the church. Everyone would go to the home of some maiden aunt, where punch and cake are served. Guests waved while the newlyweds got into a car and went someplace for a honeymoon.

Those days are dead and gone.

TWIC realizes brides are just arrogant enough to think their wedding day is the most important day in the history of the world. The bride is encouraged to think this way, which leads to a lot of stupid behavior.

The next time you're at a store with a decent magazine rack, go ahead and count the number of bridal magazines. I'm guessing you'll see at least five publications dedicated to TWIC. The pages of those magazines are stuffed with ideas for a wedding. Engagement rings. Announcements. Gowns. Veils. Tuxedos. Registries. Venues. Travel ads.

Turn on the television. At any given time of day, it's easy to find a television show about weddings. "Bridezillas", "Say Yes to the Dress", "Whose Wedding is it Anyway?", "My Fair Wedding".

This is TWIC in action. They've created a multi-billion dollar industry that didn't really exist until about 25 years ago. My hat's off to them for their creativity.

Over the next few posts I'll examine TWIC and how it has changed how we celebrate weddings-- the good, the stupid, the tacky, the expensive, the silly.

Join me and as always, I'm really excited to hear what you think.