October, 2012: 2 posts.
So Leah has been traveling quite a bit lately. She asked me yesterday if saw this photo Dooce ((*Dooce is what I call Heather Armstrong, I’m very nearly incapable of referring to her as anything different. Hey, there are people who call me “art” as in “artlung” so it’s not without precedent.)) when Leah visited her and if I liked it. I replied “yes, I think that photo was pretty good”:
Which, taking some time to look at it again, I still do. Perfectly good photo. But apparently, she’s not so sure. It’s unflattering, or she doesn’t like how her chin looks, or some other criticism that I can’t remember because of course I look at the photo with my eyes, not her eyes.
I look at it and I think: “yes, that is my wife who is lovely and also that shorter kickier haircut is really working for her.”
I’m pretty sure the propensity for women to look at photos of themselves and see only the negative is is the source of so, so, so many terrible songs by men telling women they, the women, don’t know they’re beautiful; but that they, the man, can see them for their true beautiful selves.
I’m not sure if there’s something that can be done about this aspect of women, or about men, or about the terrible, terrible songs, but if there is, please let me know.
AND THEN I LOOKED UP AND IT WAS TWO YEARS SINCE MY MOTHER WAS DEAD BECAUSE I HAD PUT IT ON MY ELECTRONIC CALENDAR TO ALWAYS REMIND ME THAT IT WAS OCTOBER 27 THAT WAS THE DAY THAT MY MOTHER DIED AND GETS EQUAL BILLING WITH THE NEW YEAR AND SAINT PATRICK’S DAY AND TAX FILING DAY AND THE FOURTH OF JULY.
HER SMILE AND HER FRANK SINATRA AND HER ENCHILADAS AND HER WORRIES ABOUT MY WEIGHT AND HER ADMIRATION FOR MY EVERY CREATIVE ACT NO MATTER HOW SMALL AND HER WORDS WITH FRIENDS GAMES AND AND ALL THESE THINGS ARE THINGS THAT ARE ONLY IN MEMORY NOW.
THIS IS IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE THIS IS THE DAY OF THE YEAR I CAN TYPOGRAPHICALLY SHOUT ABOUT MY MOM’S DEATH.
I WILL KEEP HER MEMORY ALIVE AS MUCH AS I AM ABLE FOR AS LONG AS I AM ABLE.
SO NOW: READ HER OBITUARY.
READ WHAT SHE LEARNED BECAUSE SHE KNEW MORE THAN ME AND WAS SELDOM SILLY ENOUGH TO THINK CAPSLOCK MADE FOR A GOOD BLOG POST:
I believe we were created by God and when we get to the end of our life he won’t be concerned with our job title or financial status. I think he will ask us if we became the best that we could be and did we help others to grow and become better. Did we give each and every person the respect and dignity they deserved. Every single day is an opportunity to love one another. It is a joy to stand in awe and wonder at a persons beauty, goodness and uniqueness. We are all different and can never be replaced. We all have different fingerprints. No two are alike. I think that is amazing.
And in 2007, I wrote about her cancer in a post entitled Mom and the Cancer, I gave her the heads up by email, and her reaction was awesome:
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: blogged a little about mom Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2007 13:56:09 -0400 From: Mom and Dad Hi Joe, Just read your blog and it is excellent!!!! The second paragraph should read the somewhat grave circumstances instead of the someone grave, however. Other than that it is perfect! :-) How sweet! Love you lots, Momma ;-) Hello to Leah and the children ;-) I'm back working at the soup kitchen and going to daily Mass even when I don't feel well. It is a good distraction. I continue to receive cards and letters and gifts from my friends. It is overwhelming. xxoo
She worked as a receptionist and office worker and an executive assistant for many years. She didn’t graduate from San Diego State College but she made an effort to always be learning. I would read her secretarial books and her reference books and I learned behind her. She was an excellent proofreader and a good typist. She got diagnosed with cancer, and looked forward to working in a soup kitchen. That’s as short a summation of her character as I can manage.
Requiescat in pace.