May 11th, 2008

Bambi by Peace_Icons

Happy Mother's Day

Thank you all so very much for your kind comments. You're the best. I'm too overwhelmed and weary to respond, I just want you all to know how much I love you, and how much your comments mean to me.

I'm so sorry for all of you who understand what this is like. I mean I know that life is a giant exercise in learning compassion through experience, but I wouldn't wish this on anyone. It's so raw and painful, and it doesn't matter how old your loved one is, or how sick they were, you just aren't prepared, or at least I wasn't, I think we all think we're going to have just a little more time.

I've been holding the feelings, oh, just a wee bit at bay by keeping myself wound up and overly busy planning her service and the "party" at the club afterwards. But I had this huge grief hiccup today when Scott dropped me off at the bank to make a deposit. I had been driving but there weren't any spaces so we switched seats so he'd be able to drive around the block if anyone pulled in behind him. I was only alone for a minute or so, but standing there waiting, without any real distraction, or the drugs I take at night, (Vicodin, Celebrex, and Skelaxin for the pain, and super low doses of illegal Mexican Valium for the feelings), meant I had time to think and just be there in the moment.

An older man crossed in front of me and I immediately felt this sense of warmth and love for him. I really love older people, I think I always have, except for maybe a brief time in high school when I was utterly lacking in compassion for my wonderful Grandmother. Anyway this man looked a little bit like my Dad, he was wearing a short sleeved shirt and I saw his arms as he passed by, those beautiful tanned thin skinned and freckled arms that older people have. To me, of course, they are beautiful, because they are the arms of my parents, the arms of the people I love the most. So naturally I thought of my Father with his tanned and sun damaged arms from years of playing golf, and then suddenly I flashed on my Mom's arms, those arms I know so well, and her hands, and her pretty long nails that she was so proud of, and having such a visceral memory of her just hit me so hard. Like a punch in the gut there was this pain, this incredible pain and I started crying. The thought that I would never ever see her arms again, or her fingernails, never hold her hand, even though we were both so shy about this because she couldn't handle the intimacy for too long. And I remembered that I was planning to have this lady from her hair salon come give her a manicure in the hospital but she just kept getting sicker, and I remembered that one of her nails was cracked and needed patching and I put a Band-Aid on it for her, like you would put one on a little girl. Her arms, her beautiful arms. And I remembered filing her nail for her because she couldn't do it herself, and it felt so good to be able to do this one simple thing for her, to do it perfectly, better than anyone, to make it smooth so that it wouldn't bother her any more.

My Mother's arms, and her hands; I just lost it. So by the time Scott made it around the block and back I was in tears, and he hasn't seen me like this too much because I've been holding it all in. And even then I buttoned it back up as best I could because it's too much, too much for anyone else, and way too much for me, but it just kept coming, bubbling up and spilling over, so I put my big dark glasses on like some glammy widow at a funeral. Sunglasses at night to go to the market. But I just couldn't handle anyone seeing me feeling this way, I wanted to hide like the kid at the bakery who wears his bangs so long and when I tried to brush them back off his face I got that he wears them that way on purpose. He feels safer behind them.

And just now Ziggy, (Iggy Ziggy Stardust Kitty), came and sprayed me and my pillow. Ya know, when life gets too painful, it's these absurd things that make you think, "Ya just gotta laugh." I'm laughing alright, laughing through the tears.

I managed to get a lot done today, rushing here and there, trying to attack the mountain of phone calls I have to make on my cell while driving. I went to the club and planned the food. Appetizers, hot and cold to be passed out by waiters, mini hamburgers, (Mom wasn't a vegetarian and it wouldn't be right to impose this on her friends), crab cakes, chicken tacos, shrimp, quiche, quesadillas, potato skins with sour cream and caviar because my Mother so loved caviar, (I was buying it for her in the end just to try to get her to eat anything other than chocolate ice cream, she never lost her appetite for that), a desert station and a full bar. I ordered the valet parkers, called the musicians, (A Hawaiian ukulele player and his band, Hawaiian songs from the thirties and forties with a dash of Gershwin and Cole Porter thrown in), the florist, the videographer, and the photographer who turned out to be an old friend of the family.

I still need to finish writing her eulogy, keep making those phone calls, take Mom's urn to the mortuary and pick up her ashes, fun, find musicians for the church, meet with Father Doney to select the readings, clean all of the antique Victorian and Edwardian mourning jewelry that I bought to give to Mom's closest friends, except for Jani who thinks a lock of her hair is too "ghoulish" (Weird, I never expected that from her, especially because she asked me for her own little ash container to bury in her garden, I was thinking of getting some cremation jewelry for myself, little mini container things you can put a token amount of ashes in to wear -- maybe I am getting too morbid here, I don't know, I find it comforting though, death doesn't freak me out that much, Mom is mom, her hair is still her hair, I held her hand for hours after she died, kissed her face, brushed her hair, it was so hard to let go, to leave her behind, to accept that her body was empty in some way and wouldn't be breathing again), scan and print all of the pictures of Mom and my family and her friends that I want to arrange on the black poster board we are going to put on easels around the club, and I still have to take Esther and Andrea and Concha shopping because they can't go to my Mom's funeral in sweat pants or shorts.

Scott came in the afternoon and was a big help. We picked up his suit, and finally got Beau fitted for his. He would have put it off forever if I let him but we couldn't wait a single day longer and so he simply had to go. We picked out conservative shirts, somber ties, a pair of dress shoes and cufflinks. I gave all of my Father's and Grandfather's better cufflinks to my ex. It never occurred to me that I should have kept some for Beau. It seems to me that my Mom has a jewelry box of my Father's in her room at home but whatever was there that was of any value has long ago been picked over by greedy housekeepers. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day some strange alchemy happened that returned everything that had ever been stolen to its rightful owner, and it happened all at once, with little tags attached to everything bearing descriptions of all of the places where your missing items have been all this time?

And now one of the cats is throwing up, probably just a hairball, or one too many Whiskas. I'll keep an eye on him. Just one more thing to worry about. The cats remind me of babies sometimes. Babies just keep on needing. They don't stop needing to be fed, burped, changed, rocked, comforted, fed, burped, and changed again just because you're in crisis. They go on living, oblivious to the needs of anyone else around them. My cats are a little more self sufficient and sensitive, they'll come and cuddle up with me or even pat my face when I'm crying, but you get the point. Life goes on. In the midst of all of this the cats still piss and shit and puke. It's actually kind of nice.

My Mom's obituary will be in The Los Angeles Times today. If you don't live in LA you can read it on their Legacy page but it was so long in print that they've truncated it on line so I'm going to post it in it's entirety here behind the cut for anyone who might be interested.

I seriously need to get some rest, but for once I got to stay up late without having to feel guilty, which has been kind of nice.

Happy Mother's Day Everyone. It's also Beau's EIGHTEENTH birthday, if you can believe that, wow!

Love You,
Jacqui

Mom's Obituary Is HereCollapse )