When I was a little girl, I always had so much fun listening to my mom and her friends talking and laughing at the kitchen table. Usually they had a bottle of wine, or during the colder months, mai tai's. Nonetheless, I was usually surrounded by all of their kids and we had a great time goofing around. But what I remember the most, was hearing my mom and the other women laughing. My brain can still recall the sound of my mom throwing back her head and letting out a heck of belly laugh. For the most part, our kitchen was always full of my mom's friends and their kids. It was safe, predictable and now provides me with my warmest childhood memories.
My mom passed away a year ago on the 17th of October. She would have been 75 years old on October 22, but sadly slipped just short of reaching that day. She passed away from Alzheimers which is a terrible, nasty disease that steals the personality right out from under their feet. She was a feisty woman; Irish Catholic, and her favorite saying was "My feet are always pointed towards the door." She was never one to let a good time go by without her, and yet that is what the disease stole from all of us. When she passed away, she was in chronic pain that she was unable to articulate, and panicked all the time. She lost her sense of kindness and acceptance. My mom became highly irritable and at the same time, a hopeless flirt. It did seem to send her sex drive into overdrive.
There are funny things about the disease, but only now are they somewhat laughable. She developed an eating disorder and was terrified of being overweight. She was always a skinny-minnie, but feared food making her fat. She flirted with other dementia patients who were blissfully unaware of her come-ons. SHe wouldn't rest until my sister took her to the mall and bought her an I-pex bra from Victoria's Secret. She wanted her boobs to be pushed up and look sassy for the men.
What I am most grateful for although I was not with her when she died, was that she got to see a picture of Richnightder and Jerome. She spoke to their pictures as if they were real and there in person. She stroked their faces and told them, "Nana loves you." I think she knew then that she would never see them in person here on this earth, but I know that she is with them in Haiti watching over them everyday. She loved children and my mom would have been thrilled to be able to bake cookies for the boys.
What gets me these days, is that my sisters, Nancy, Kathleen, and I are now the OLDER generation. All the kids I grew up with have lost parents and it is shocking to be hit with the realization that we are now the mature generation. My dad died on father's day in 2001 and I have officially been an orphan for a year now. It is odd to feel that way even though I have a terrific husband and wonderful kids, but the reality is that I am parentless and my generational status has moved up the ladder. I still feel like I am 25 and God knows I act like it most days, but to think that my sisters and I are all that is left of my parents (besides our offspring) catches you and pulls you up short sometimes. So my sisters and I raise a toast to all of you kids, and warn you to watch out, because someday........you will be it too!