Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory of My Mom, In Memory of 9/11, In Thanks for My Blessings

Yesterday my family said a final goodbye to my Mom, exactly one month after losing her.  Today our country remembers the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001.  Tomorrow Dan and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage.  To say it has been a weekend of emotional highs and lows would be an understatement.  In the days to come I will publish the eulogy I wrote for my mom and, if they will let me, the ones written by her sister, her niece and two of her life-long friends. 

My Mom and I threw a lot of parties together over the years; it was one area where we never disagreed.  I’ve been told more than once that I should be an event planner, and that would be thanks to my Mom.  She threw a hell of a party, I watched and learned.  I had a really specific vision of what I wanted and it seemed to be in tandem with what my aunt and brother wanted too.  We didn’t handle her memorial as a traditional funeral, my mom was not a traditional woman.  My Mom was cremated and all of the urns I found were just hideous; hideous and outrageously expensive.  So, my Mom showed up to her memorial in a lovely turquoise urn from one of her favorite stores; Homegoods.  $29.99, thank you very much.  This memorial service, for me, felt like the last party I was ever going to throw with my Mom and I wanted to do it right.  I feel one hundred percent certain it came off with the feeling I intended and my Mom would have been proud.  I did over-buy the MGD 64; I guess I just didn’t factor in that my Mom wouldn’t actually be at the party.  We had amazing speakers who all shared a common thread; my mom had a huge heart and if she loved you, she considered you family.  Period.  We had beautiful music and wonderful food.  My Mom would have enjoyed herself.

There aren’t enough words to explain how I feel about my Mom, so today; I’m not even going to try.  What I’ve been thinking about all day today is how blessed I am.  First of all, I have absolutely, hands down, the best family and friends on the planet.   My friend Jamie found me two bartenders and acted like that was a normal favor to ask. I sent one email to three people and Jesica, Thia and Pam handled everything in the kitchen.  They baked for me, they gathered vases for me, the handled caterers for me, they set-up, they organized, they cleaned.  Thia kept me from jumping off a building when I accidentally spilled some of my Mom’s ashes in transit between urns (a story for another day).  Her husband Tim became our personal DJ/audio guy.  Shawna dropped her life and flew 500 miles to save mine.  She entertained my kids, she cleaned my house and she kept me together.  My friend Colleen found me a projector at the last minute and showed up when she hates funerals because she loves me and loved my Mom.  My friend Jim helped me with my video and my friend Cathi fixed my girls’ hair and brought my family to me.  Cathi and her mom, Randie also weeded my yard this week, and Cathi does NOT garden.  Five years ago Thia and I joined a garden club to get away from our kids.  What I ended up with is a group of friends that have held me up with their mothering both before and after I became motherless.  They have gathered around me like mother hens, calling me to check-in and calling each other to make sure I’m okay.  They have opened their homes, their gardens, their linen closets and their hearts to me and I am so thankful.  They know who they are, but I’ll feel better saying their names. Thank you, Diana.  Thank you, Ron and MaryAnne. Thank you, Yvonne.  And thank you, thank you, thank you to Jeannie and Bill, Sally and John and Melissa.  I'm sure I'm forgetting people, I'm tired, it's not that you're not appreciated.  And, I’m not even going to get started on my family today, I still feel too emotional.
So today, while remembering what happened 10 years ago, I’m choosing to focus on the positive that came out of it.  Tragedy brings out the best in Americans like nothing else.  I’m remembering the fire fighters and responders who ran up while others ran down.  I’m remembering Frank DiMartini and Pablo Ortiz who saved nearly 80 people from the North tower while sacrificing their own lives.  I’m remembering that all the stereotypes about New Yorkers aren’t true; on that day the entire country were New Yorkers, and we all helped each other.  I’m remembering that I stood in line for four hours to donate blood because so many people beat me there.  I’m remembering a group of brave Americans who became heroes on a suicide mission that ended in a field in Pennsylvania instead of our Capitol or a white house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Today, I am remembering, remembering, remembering.

blog design by