First and Last

I was getting my haircut yesterday and kinda fell into a daze. A cold and rainy day here in Manayunk. Folks starting to decorate. I remember how you always loved the lights on Main Street. Thankful that work is slowing down. Hoping for some good news or something good in 2020 professionally. Just bored and worn out. As I was getting my haircut, I had this thought in my mind about the firsts that you experienced as a mother. Something I have yet to experience as a parent, but will some day. The first outfit (I'm sure it was some type of Pope white getup), the first noise, the first word, the first haircut, the first day walking, the first day of school. My memory doesn't go back to those days, but I wonder about them. I know you must've been totally over the moon with each of us. All being so different and all having different quirks about us. By the time the 4th and 5th came, I am sure you had it down to a science. I don't think I ever heard you complain once about your kids being a burden on your early life. I can't imagine 5 kids by 31. It's mind-boggling just to think of getting a group like that out of the house. I can still remember a hot summer day that I think you went into get your license reprinted or something. I think we were in the escort or some other red car. Maybe the Plymouth. I don't know I just remember being in this parking lot for about an hour or so and the girls going ape shit crying. I remember looking out a window feeling helpless cause I couldn't stop them from crying. I can still remember just looking around. I remember all of our "junker" cars. Ha. We sure did ride around in some real works of art. I remember you still never complaining. As long as you could drop us off or pick us up. I remember you would pick me up from Nanny's on Sunday night after your shift at Island Road. I remember those car rides cause I would just focus on passing street lights of a yellow shade. As we passed Super Fresh and Penrose Plaza and Clover. I remember all the things we did when it was just you and I for that brief period of time. I can remember that one picture where you made cheesesteaks at Mom Mom Jersey's house in Ravenwood and the taste of the American cheese and ketchup. So good. All those times we spent at the pool. The more the days pass. Whether they are cold or hot, happy or sad, early or late, I am grateful I was able to share time on this earth with you. I see so many people who have lost loved ones this year. I really wish I could take all of their pain and put it on my shoulders, but for the first time in my life, I have no more room left and no more shoulder to put things on. I am grateful that I have weeded some truly bad people out of my life. I am thankful that I am no longer under such negative weight and stress. That took a while to shake, but it's not even a memory any more. It's like it didn't exist and maybe it didn't...for me...for many who love us. It's raining again today. Work is slow. Not much to get excited about right now in that sense. Just "doing my 8 and skate" as you would say. I am getting more excited about change. I don't know what all that change will entail, but I will tell you about it later. It's slowly happening now. I wish you were here for me to just call you and share it with you. Ah. How I would give my entire life for a phone call or an impromptu visit. It is hard for me to part ways with this street as I see you walking across it in my mind so many times, I see you parked on the side of the street near the school just waiting for me, I can see you there so many times. When I am walking around, day or night, but mostly night, I think that I see you. It could be an outline of you or just your eyes and face. I sometimes just stare. It happens at the gym a lot. Ah, the gym. May very well save my entire life. It's a complete release and I stay as long as I can before I pass out. Ha. I remembered how proud of yourself you were when you went to that class near your house. I remember you being so positive and happy about it and also saying how sore you were. I just really wish we pushed you more on your health. I really wish you had an advocate that just kicked you in your ass to go to the doctors. I mean, even just for the annual. I feel this could've been either identified or prevented. It's not like me, where I can treat it....the rupture just took you. I often drift and think about how I didn't get to say goodbye to you. I think of that last phone call from Lisa, the last drive to the hospice, the last time I walked into that room that I slept in and ate and did my work, the last time I held your weathered work beaten hand, the last time I hugged you, the last time that I really looked at you. It's not the person I want to remember, but it is you....gone from my life. I never thought those lasts would come at this time in my life. A time when I truly needed you, but you gave me so much for 40 years. Gave me so much strength. So much so that there isn't anything that will take me down at this point. I welcome all comers in that arena. I guess that is the strength you bestowed upon us and that still pumps strongly inside of me. I remember our many beach days..both young and old. Mostly I like to remember the summer you got The Bitty. You were just so proud of yourself and there was nothing that made you sad, hurt, anxious, or just depressed there. Nothing could break your stride there. Sometimes I really just like thinking of you there. Me coming down with my backpack and we go and walk to get some dinner and just enjoy ourselves. That's really what more of our life should've been about. I realize I am only here for such a short time and I really don't like the fact that any of that time is spent being hurt or just feeling bad. That is not what life is about. Human beings are some of the best and worst creatures on the planet. We truly miss you. You were are everything Mom. You really were just everything to us. I hope you knew that when you left us. I hope you really did. I don't like to think about your last conscious thought, but I hope it is one, of you, the people you loved the most doing the things you loved the most. I know it was never anything that involves needing a lot of money. Maybe just a talk on a couch or a step or a beach. It is truly amazing how most of the hurt people may go through can involve material things and money, but you never needed that. You just needed a friend, someone who loved you, someone who showed you that they appreciated you. I hope in some way you really knew that when you left us. I think of so many more ways we could've shown you that, but we ran out of time. I know people that just don't have relationships with their mothers like the one we had with you and that makes me sad for them. Our relationship with you was something we were SO lucky to have and I realize that when others don't have that, they realize it's missing. 2019 seems to be turning into the worst year for a lot of families close to us. It's been so hard to see them go through it. I shake my head and just say something to myself. You really get that the best people out there are the ones who show empathy and emotion, but can be supportive. We aren't getting out of here alive so we might as well try and get along with each other. I think back to the dark times of the last 24 months. I think about how I just don't get why people would act the way they acted. Then I read something about tolerating. If you tolerate people who act badly, you enable them with approval. Yeah, that's never going to happen again in my life. Never. I love you Mom. I know you're here. Please keep watching over me. Bobby

This is where we will live forever. Together, surrounding you with love, near the beach, near the ocean....for eternity. 


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