My Mom passed away in August, 2011. Lately, I've been thinking about my Mom and how much she would enjoy being part of my blog. Because my Mom's eulogy was written to reflect her, it's pretty funny - or at least, it's supposed to be. In honor of her, and for no particular reason other than she has been on my mind lately, I dig this out of the Severino archives and make it public...
Another thing I really loved about my Mom was her sense of adventure. I always admired that even after spending nearly 50 years in Poughkeepsie, she just picked up and started a whole new life in Sag Harbor, NY near my brother. I think she was there a week before she joined the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum Volunteer Committee. A month later, she was organizing events and practically knew the whole town. She just amazed me. One of the other things she did when she moved to Sag Harbor was to get a job working as a receptionist at a swanky Easthampton real estate office. One of her favorite stories to tell was when Alec Baldwin first came into the office and she called him as “Mr. Baldwin”. He replied: “You can call me, Al.” We lived on that for weeks. We’d be in the middle of something completely different, and one of us would pipe up and just say: “You can call me, Al”.
And of course, her final big move – back to the Midwest to MN to be closer to me and Sam, was really a gift. Ben and I had moved to MN when Sam was 5, so she really didn’t know him as an adult. Suffice to say, they wasted no time catching up. They were two peas in a pod. They had that amazing connection that happens between grandparents and grandkids. It always cracked me up but slightly annoyed me that when she and Sam were in a room together, I was superfluous. Those two just connected on another level and it was such a gift for Sam to have that and such a gift for me to see that connection.
My Mom was an avid reader of everything. She was NEVER without a book. It was almost like breathing or eating to her. If she ran out of books, she would RE-READ them and I’m talking The Complete Works of Jane Austen. I actually brought in a volume that she had loaned me to read and as I stopped and started and clutzed my way through the first novel, taking forever to get into it and feeling like I had ADHD, she had called to say “Could you bring it back? I’d like to read it again.” 1,364 pages and she wants to re-read it!
And finally, my Mom had a ferocious sense of humor. To know my Mom was to laugh with her. To add to some of the words I described her with earlier, I would add: She was a CHARACTER. Here’s a good example: The evening that my Mom passed was an emotional one. But even in that, my Mom managed to figure out a way to get me laughing and leave her mark. Granted, she had some dementia toward the end and was good for a tall tale or two, but that last night, Mom was sound asleep and as I sat there listening to her unsteady breathing, two nurses came in to adjust her pillows. I was watching them go through this rather delicate process when one of the nurses said to me – completely sincerely – “Is it true that your Mom was really an undercover police detective???” I said “No, not to my knowledge” and we laughed. All I could think of was that even during my Mom’s transition to the next life, she was still trying to make me laugh. It reminded me of what I loved about Mom so much. And what I will miss about her.
“I miss you, Mom. I tried to do what you would want me to do – like picking out the best picture for the program and making sure all the other pictures make you look thin. It’s what I do for you and what I would want Sam to do for me some day. I can’t believe you are gone from this earth, and it will take so much more time for me to “get” that. Not a day goes by that I don’t think ‘Oh, I should give these earrings to Mom’ or ‘I wonder if Mom has enough Diet Snapple’. You are not only my Mom, it’s like you are a PART of me. And that is not a bad thing. I will miss you so much but know that that part of me – YOU -- will live on in our hearts and you will never be forgotten. I love you, Mom.”