The Big Blue Mess is going on hiatus for a bit, which could mean a few days or it could mean a few weeks, but I’ll leave you with a poorly worded and poorly constructed “eulogy” or more precisely my random ramblings about my Mother and her “passing”.
I wish I believed as some of my friends do that death is a glorious moment. That being there in that moment, with that person was something to envy. The image I have on replay in my memory is not glorious or comforting; it’s one of confusion and running down a hall yelling at people – relying more on frantic hand gestures than words that the nurses then passed down the line stirring up an entire group of people to run into my Mom’s room. I looked in once to see that she was still convulsing and then I stayed outside the room completely alone. I felt small and upset – angry that the world didn’t just stop just for a few seconds to quietly mourn.
My Mother lived somewhere between the Emerald City and Pompeii at the moment Mt. Vesuvius erupted. If I were to ask her how she would want to be defined, she’d say “not by The Wizard of Oz” which she’ll forever be associated with. She would want people to remember her love of history, Jane Goodall’s work with primates, the Challenger shuttle, robots, model building, tennis, football and movies particularly musicals. In fact, the kind of service she’d love to have would be choreographed by Busby Berkeley, although Bob Fosse would be more than welcome to throw in a number or two. She was the kind of person whose knowledge of movies was so great that she frequently corrected magazines, newspapers and people she saw on air. When I went to visit her on Saturday she was enjoying a “Touch of Evil” on TCM and whispered, “just a second, I want to hear this line…” When Janet Leigh uttered “he was some kind of man” she smiled and said, “ok” indicating that we could start talking.
My Mom also loved to read and write and relate stories and whenever you were about to say goodbye, she’d end with “…just one more thing” so you’d listen a little longer.
My aunt asked me to write her obituary. She said, “you write well, you should do it” but what can you really express in the small space a newspaper allows that encompasses a long and full life?” So let me add a couple more things I really couldn’t for the paper. She grew up in Highland Park and was very proud of that. She got her degree from UT at Arlington in Sociology and took graduate classes at UT in Austin. Her education and where she came from were very important to her; they truly defined my mother more than ruby red slippers ever could. (Although, she once wrote a paper in graduate school about the symbolism of color in The Wizard of Oz – it’s no small wonder that my Mom and that movie were always paired together.)
On Wednesday we’ll release balloons at her graveside while playing Over the Rainbow and all my “… just one more thing before you go’s” will drift away.
But just one more thing…. I’m so sorry Mom. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I love you and I really like you; you were “some kind of [woman]” and a good friend.