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Saturday, September 17

Sitting At The Grownup's Table These Days

Mom would have been 86 today had she not died peacefully in her sleep back in June 2001. Well, if she didn't die that day, she surely would have keeled over a few months later on September 11th. On the morning of 9/11, with mom's death not completely sunken in yet, I picked up the phone to call her and tell her, "I told you so!". Ironically when I went to her empty house to bring in the mail that week, the cover of Newsweek had a story about how bush stole the election. God, I so wanted to share that with her too. She was a Republican. So was I, but I voted for a person, not the party. I think that makes me an Independent.

My last conversation with her, the night before she died, was about that poor women who killed her kids. My mom and I were discussing how being knocked up repeatedly and forced to homeschool the children would drive any woman completely mad. I think I was even crying about how her husband drove her to do it and that I thought he should stand before the firing squad. I have this thing about men who make their wives crazy. Then I kissed mom goodbye and told her I'd pick her up in the morning for her hair appointment. Well, I went to pick her up the next morning, but she was sleeping so soundly that she wouldn't wake up. She was like a princess. A perfect lady even in death. She had predicted that all her life. I'm serious. (Although don't tell her I said this, but she used to say things spontaneously and in a hushed tone like, "Sometimes, Lizzy, you just have to call a fuck a fuck.")

Mom was an avid worrier and CNN watcher (She wore hilarious prescription binocular glasses just to watch CNN) in the years before she died. I had no time to read or watch the news at that time because I had a family at home, was taking care of my parents (dad died a year before mom) and trying to run a business. So mom would tell me what she saw/heard on the news and then we'd argue about it over breakfast in the Grapevine Cafe where I took her almost every morning before we ran errands together and amassed even more stuff that I would eventually have to get rid of.

She was legally blind due to macular degeneration and she was pissed off that she couldn't drive more than anything in the world. (She was always very independent. She married at 30 because she was a career woman and worked until she was 37 when I came along and then she shopped for a living.) The night before she died, my husband and the man who had just bought her car met at her house to take it away. The first thing I saw in her kitchen when I entered the back door was the stuff from the trunk of her car neatly piled under the table. Everything was neat and the house was dark. I believe the selling of her car, which sat motionless in the garage for over a year, reaffirmed her utter helplessness. There was no turning back. She really wasn't helpless or useless. I enjoyed the hell out of her and our talks. She was my best friend and confidant. She was my son's Grandma.

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