Friday, August 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jan

Yesterday was Mom's birthday.

Several family members were at the Outer Banks in North Carolina: my children, my sister and her family, my dad & stepmother. They corked some champagne and scattered some of Mom's ashes in the ocean. Heather sent an email about this, and we also got some nice responses from other family and friends (Aunt Judy, Anita, Dick and Nancy).

A co-worker wanted to go out to lunch, so I agreed but said that it had to be a special place to celebrate my Mom's birthday. So, we went out to Crawdaddy's, a local Cajun & Creole restaurant, and had a great lunch.

My wife and I decided to go out for dinner to celebrate Mom's birthday. We got all dressed up and went to Eddie Martini's. I was a little disappointed to see some very casual outfits on the other patrons, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm for our memorial meal. We toasted Mom with wine (Tracy) and whiskey sour (me), and enjoyed the fantastic food (a variation on Caesar salad, mahi mahi, steak medallions, and lobster risotto).

We passed on dessert, because Tracy had a craving for Gilles (Milwaukee locals will understand why). By the time we got to Gilles, she decided to get a pint to take home. I asked if we had anything to put on it, and Tracy answered, "Baileys," with a smile. But by the time we got home, neither one of us wanted to eat frozen custard, so we just toasted Mom one final time with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream.

So, thanks Mom, for introducing me to Bailey's Irish Cream...and everything else.

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Friday, July 18, 2008


Today's my birthday.

It's amazing how much you can miss the phone call you used to take for granted.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Memorial Gathering at Mount Vernon

Today was Mom's memorial gathering. We got to the Mount Vernon Inn around 10:30 and started setting up. We had all done a lot of work on Friday, so the set-up was very smooth.

People started arriving shortly before eleven, and soon a large crowd filled the room. After the bartender gave out a few drinks, Sam asked Aunt Judy for a twenty to tip Patrick (the bartender). Patrick laughed when Sam handed him a twenty dollar bill, so the event was off to a great start.

Everyone talked in small groups, mingling about the room wherever the conversation took them.

Judy emceed the candle lighting, which went off without a hitch. All of Mom's siblings--Dudley, the oldest; Diane, the bossy big sister; and Judy, the youngest--lit candles (in that order). Next, us children lit candles--Brian, then me, and Heather. Finally, Kaitlin led the grandchildren: Eamonn, Sarah standing in for Chet and Owen, ending with Sam. It really was quite lovely.

At one time, Tracy counted 48 people in the room--many more than the thirty people we imagined might show up if the stars aligned properly and every single person on our little list showed up. And many of them stayed almost the entire time.

Brian started off the toast/remembrance portion of the evening. He told a great story about Mom smashing a pumpkin pie into his face one Thanksgiving. I was not at that particular family gathering and I had never heard that story! I guess some family secrets aren't embarrassing or shameful, just funny and touching.

Other people got up and told stories, some humorous (I read "Portrait By a Neighbor" by Edna St. Vincent Millay) and some serious (Mom helping someone leave an abusive relationship). I was very moved by all the stories--as were many in the room (as evidenced by the tears).

More later--my Tylenol PM is kicking in....

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Thursday, June 5, 2008


We are at the airport, en route to the memorial gathering at the Mount Vernon Inn on Saturday. Projected temperature: 99 degrees. But we don't have to drive through Indiana. We don't even have to fly over the Hell-sier state! Woo-hoo!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Am I Psychic?

I could not sleep last night. I made sure to drink no caffeine on Sunday, but I just could not fall asleep.

When I finally did, the phone rang.

It was my father, letting me know that Mom had died.

I could not then fall back asleep.

This morning, I have talked to several people by phone.

Apparently, the last forty-eight hours were bad; my father's assessment is that Mom was suffering. He was a bit angry with himself for falling asleep right before she died. I told him that he can't stay up forever. Doreen was there, checking on Mom every 10 minutes. So, she woke Dad up and that's that. Mom was very lucky to have such great friends. And I can't think of many exes who would be there thirty-two years after they split up.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Heart Skips a Beat

Yesterday (Wednesday) evening, I am at work, counting down the minutes until I can leave.

My cell phone rings and my heart skips a beat--it is my father's ringtone. Dreading "the call" (as I think of it), I answer.

Of course, nothing had really changed. He was just calling to see how I was, and give me an update.

It's sort of amusing (to me, anyway) how freaked out I was for a few seconds. I guess, the emotional roller coaster ride continues....

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another Update

Another update:

Last night was rough but Dad was on duty. She was up most of the night and throwing up.
I stayed with her so dad could sleep til' about 1:30.
Gave her some meds for that.
Today had another bout so we cranked up some compazine.
Lots of visitors - Doreen, Kelly Gilbert, Kristin from her work.
She did some talking to Dad last night about the past (good things) and then this a.m. about Sam and would he remember her. Dad reassured and then talked about the other grandkids as well.

I don't know if this is uplifting or depressing. Or both.