Dear Mom: July 9, 2023

 Dear Mom,

Well it's been one year.  I remember this day very well, although I prefer to recall the day before when you made your extraordinary phone calls to friends to say good bye. (  It was this day, one year ago, that I held your hand and you took your last breath.  (I have to be honest here; your breathing was really strange at the end.  You'd stop and I'd think, "this is it" and I'd wait.  Then you'd take another breath after what seemed like an eternity and I'd think "nope."  At the very end I stood there and waited and waited and waited; I think a good five minutes passed before I finally called a nurse.)

I know you were looking for peace.  As your son-in-law pointed out you are probably annoyed (do souls get annoyed?), that you didn't even get a full year of peace, only 357 days until dad joined you.  As you said, "that man won't let me go anywhere on my own."  

Funny (but not in a ha-ha way) thing...on Friday I realized I should try to contact some of dad's (your?) friends that might not have heard the news.  I was specifically thinking of friends from Bucknell and was going through his contact lists (took me forever to find on Yahoo!; give me Google any time).  There was a name that I DIDN'T find that surprised me:  Lenny C.  Lenny and dad had been friends for a long time; having worked together for decades. (Didn't they get into a car accident in Texas at one point?  I think they were in a cab?  I have vague memories and no details.) That he and his wife ended up living only a few miles away from you at the shore always amused me.  Since I couldn't find a phone number or email in dad's contacts, I did what anyone (or almost anyone) would do:  I Googled his name.  And it turned out Lenny died on Thursday (July 6th).  I'd like to think that they are both free of health issues and can "hang out" together again.  (That would give you more "me" time.)

Perhaps you have your own plans (as you always did).  I'd like to think that you might be on the "welcoming committee" for Perry S.  You adored her.  So did we; including my son who never got to meet her, but she has excellent taste in Christmas gifts when he was little and I'll never forget how she and Lee sent him a huge balloon bouquet for this 1st birthday.  (I had gone out to buy just one!)  Although I know that I met Perry (and Lee) when I was very young (and I still have the Christmas photos from Uncle Harold and Aunt Dot's house to prove it), I feel like we really met when I got married.  (There would be no wedding video without Lee and I'm sure Perry had her hand in there as well.)  Remember how funny she was the night before John got married?  Sitting comfortably on the living room floor and gazing up at "my lord and master," aka Lee.  It was so funny; not not exactly sure why.  It was in her delivery; her humor was quiet and dry.  The imagine still stays with me and that was a July evening over 18 years ago.

Perhaps you were more aware than I was, of how ill Perry was.  I knew, but I didn't.  Or I was caught up in my world of illness with you and then dad.  When Lee told me he would be coming to see us this summer, I figured it would be almost autumn by the time he got here.  Since Perry died on Friday morning...I'll be so glad to see Lee but...

Last week definitely sucked the big hairy mo, as I have been known to say.  Three deaths within 7 days is just too much.

Now we enter a new week.  While today is the anniversary of your passing, it is also Aunt Julie's birthday.  (And I'm really pissed that the flowers that I sent via 1-800-Flowers which were SUPPOSED to arrive yesterday are not arriving until tomorrow.  I'm even more annoyed that they didn't have the courtesy to tell me that the delivery was delayed and that I only figured it out myself when I realized I didn't get a delivery notification and saw that the date had changed from Saturday to Monday.  There are plenty of other things that have gotten under my skin lately, all of which are realitively trivial, but nonetheless...)  It is also the start of your grandson's summer job.  (6 weeks with a bunch of little kids trying to do's a job all right!)  It's just another work week for me, but I'm hoping to do most of it remotely from the house at the shore.  I am hoping to find some peace and calm there. I'm not counting on it...

I love you.  And if you happen to see Dad and Perry tell them that I love them too.  (Not appropriate to say that to maybe just give him a "hi" from me?)



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