Another quick note to my Mom after attending and participating in Mom’s funeral.
I want to speak with you. You have been on my mind constantly. The other day me, Cheryl and Dad were walking the dog. We were sharing memories of you and I told them of how you took me and my grandmother to see a double feature of Harrison Ford’s Witness and The Breakfast Club on my last day of elementary school in the fifth grade. We laughed at how my grandmother became upset that my Mom took me to see The Breakfast Club as a young kid. Then the weirdest thing happened when we got into the car after that walk. The radio was playing the theme song from The Breakfast Club. Was that you Mom? Is that your attempt at laughing with us? I have been wondering if that is you. Last night we went to your favorite Italian restaurant which is Parma. While there your favorite Frank Sinatra songs were playing. We all noticed it Mom.
When we had your wake last night Mom I was terrified to see you in a casket. I played with you hair like I did in the hospital, and it wasn’t the same. You didn’t respond like you used to. Kissing your forehead was not the same Mom. I was stunned to see you in the casket Mom. People came far and wide for both your wake and funeral today Mom. Last night I was touched by the people who showed up from my high school football team. I was so stunned and amazed. San Joaquin Memorial is like a family Mom. I am so grateful you sent me there Mom. But Mom so many people showed up for you not just from Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley but other areas of California.
Dad asked me to say a few things about you last night after the Rosary that was said for you Mom. I didn’t prepare anything and just went up there and spoke to your family and friends. I shared from my heart about you. I told people that on April 1 you were not the only one who died. A part of me died also. I am in deep pain Mom, we should not be separated like this. I shared with people memories over the years. From the time I vomited and got sick in the back of the station wagon after swimming lessons when I was 5 to the times you picked me up from football practice. I shared how scared I was when you were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2005. And how I was conflicted in taking the job in D.C. and how I felt about coming home. While sick you were the one that told me to take the job as you said life goes on. You were right Mom. I told people an inside family joke that many people did not know. Remember how I picked up the Crab t-shirt for you in Baltimore back in 2005 or 2006? I told people how you embraced it and called yourself the crab. When I called you would say you were crabby and that you the crab is in. For me Mom you will always be the crab. When I go to Baltimore and I see the crab reminders you will stir inside my heart Mom. I will always associate you with those times. I also shared how much you missed your parents. I am going to miss you equally Mom.
I also talked about how I knew when I saw you in the hospital in December of 2016 that we had a major medical challenge. I knew when I saw your face. I told your friends that I came back all the times that I did because you only have one Mom. You honor and respect her. You are my Mom. And I wanted to respect you in all the times I came home. I want you to know Mom in front of all your friends and family that I made a promise that I intend to keep. I will look after Dad. I will help him, be involved in his life, and arrange for him to travel. I am coaching Cheryl and will help her as we clean the house and slowly put things together Mom. That is another way we will honor your memory.
Mom your funeral today was so hard. I struggled to get through it. So many people are in shock. I almost lost it a couple of times Mom. I knew if I lost it I would not be able to compose myself. The meal was good and we chose your favorite foods. From chicken and mushrooms to salad with raspberry vinaigrette and your favorite cake. It was like your gourmet parties Mom. I told Dad to think of it like that, as one of your parties. I was exhausted Mom in hugging people and talking with them. Saying goodbye to you as they closed the casket was so hard. I kissed it Mom that was the closest I could get to kissing you. The graveside service was also tough. Saying goodbye and watching the pall bears put their roses on the casket was hard. Watching the casket go into the ground was even harder. I need to get this off my chest Mom. I feel like a part of me is buried with you. This has been so hard to do Mom. I would trade everything for one more day. Just one more day.
This morning one of our neighbors shared the last words of his father. He told me that I was taking care of Dad and putting things together for him. That is my promise Mom. Dad was your spouse for 52 years. I will pick up the responsibilities and guide and help him. Tomorrow morning we start with your storage sheds. My goal is to get started and have Cheryl pick up where I left off. In two months I would like them gone so that we could use that money for Dad to travel. Duke and Chicago are the highest priorities for Dad now and I will make that a reality for him Mom. You made a major impression on me Mom. I tried to be there for you in every way, but especially as you became ill. I feel so lost Mom. I just feel lost. I want to know that you are okay. As I told Dad earlier one comforting thing about all this is that you are not suffering anymore. No more pain and no more problems. I love you Mom. I always will as there will never be anyone like you at all that can fill your role.
With a sad and broken heart I share all this with you,