Thursday, January 6, 2011
(Iced) Tea and Sympathy

I have sat down to write this post a dozen times already but none of them ever seemed quite right. This time, whatever flows out is what I will post.

Just a few days before Christmas one of my mother's best and dearest friends passed away. If you are one of the few people who read this blog regularly you know her as CatMar, faithful comment leaver and known to me as "Aunt" Marilyn.

About a week before she died I'd visited Marilyn in the hospital. In ICU and attached to seemingly every machine the hospital had, I held her hand and just talked to her. It was at once the simplest yet most difficult thing to do. I was afraid if a tube or something shifted it would cause her pain or throw a reading of one of the machines off. Had I known that was going to be the last time I'd see her I'd have hugged her hard and kissed her on each cheek.

It is hard to say goodbye to someone you've known your whole life, even though you know their suffering is over. But for someone who was a fighter, always upbeat and willing to do what it took to continue enjoying life, it seems only proper to remember not the very end, but all the stuff that came before: that she bought me the "Grease" soundtrack when I was a kid (the double LP! Oh, how I loved it.), that she made delicious fried chicken, loved mah jong, played a good game of Uno, always had a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge, loved Coney Island. Marilyn was always fun. She raised a daughter by herself, a daughter who has grown into a fine young woman which I'm sure she considered her finest accomplishment.

Today would have been Marilyn's 60th birthday and to think about how many people attended her memorial last month, I know there is a large group of people remembering her today, wishing she'd had just a few more birthdays, or maybe even just one more day. It makes me sad to think she is not here to comment on this post but I don't think she would want people to be sad thinking of her. I think she would want people to remember her the good times. So today I will remember her with a smile and a nice memory while listening to a little "Grease" maybe, and drinking an iced tea. Happy birthday.

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