Quiet Strength – Part 2

My Mom called this afternoon while I was still at work. It was a very bittersweet day for her.  Barbara's funeral was today.  I asked her how she was and she said she was doing okay.  She said she received the earrings I got her for her birthday and she liked them.  She wanted to keep her birthday low key this year.  Understandably so.  I feel guilty that I almost have the luxury –if you can call it that– of being so far away.  I can almost pretend that none of this happened.  I can bury myself in my job and I won't see any obituaries in the Phoenix paper here.  I feel, like how dare I.

I was just laying in bed trying to fall asleep when all these memories just started coming to me as if a video collage were being played in my head.  I could hear Barbara's kind voice with her thick Boston accent asking for my Mother on so many occasions that she'd call our house.  "Hello Jennif-ah, is your mothah they-ah?"  I suppose we all talked like that.  It just sounds so foreign to me now.  I remember the time in my twenties that she shared with me a recipe for veggie lasagne. I felt like I had somehow graduated into adulthood at that point, and I was no longer the kid that was being shooed out of the room so the adults could talk over their cups of instant coffee, or glasses of Julio and Gallo. 

Another memory came to mind while I was laying there.  Once I asked my Mom and Barbara what life was like when they were teenagers.  Barbara drove a convertible.  She and my Mom would ride around with the top down while dressed like movie stars in big sunglasses.  They wore their hair covered by scarves tied under there chins.  I can picture the two of them driving through town like twin Audrey Hepburns while something by Brenda Lee blared on the AM radio station.

I love this story the best:  Barbara's parents own a house in Cape Cod.  Barbara's Mom still lives there.  In the summertime my Mom would stay with Barbara.  They decided to take a walk by the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis.  This is long before the days of fenced in yards and security cameras.  They noticed two young men tossing a football in the frontyard.  The men noticed them too, and started to wave them over.  The two men were John F. Kennedy, and his brother Robert.  They beckoned to Mom and Barbara who shook their heads and kept walking.  They both had quite the story to tell upon returning to school.  In hindsight though, I'm very glad that they didn't go over there given the reputation of the Kennedy family that was to come.

So that is that.  I still am in disbelief.  As a child my Dad traveled a lot.  He would be away in Asia or Europe for work and many times it would be just us girls in the house.  I grew up with this close knit group of women that included not only family but close friends of my Mother's.  We called these women by their first name.  There were no formalities here.  These are just the things I remember.   It seems surreal to me that the security that came from these moments is starting to disappear.  I'm getting older.  My Mom and her friends are getting older.  Barbara was the first to go out of this close knit group of friends of my Mothers.  Life is so fragile.  Everytime I blow out a candle I'm reminded of that.  I think of that flame glowing and then in a moment it's gone. Life is kind of like that.

While I'm not going to dwell on the sadness of this all too much longer, I know I have to give myself a chance to grieve, too.  I really haven't done that.  But I can feel it coming.  I can feel the tears in there like a gorged dam that is ready to let loose.  Maybe Ruben will be out for awhile this weekend and I can just let all this out.  Although its not like he hasn't seen me cry before, I don't like to have a let loose, rain in the desert kind of cry infront of him.  He just stares at me like a deer caught in the headlights, unsure what to do.  The last time I did that, he started reading a jewelry catalog.  It may have even been upside down.  I think I'll spare him the stress, too.  Then, like rain in the desert, everything will be washed clean again.

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4 thoughts on “Quiet Strength – Part 2

  1. Thanks FD. I'm glad you enjoyed my trip down memory lane. =) I will be over at your page next to check out what it going on in the 'Basement of Discontent.'
    I hope you are having a great weekend.

  2. Thanks Pam. It was a really neat thing growing up with them. Most of my Mom's friends are Godmother to my sisters and I. We actually called them Auntie.
    I'm sure the dam is going to burst over the weekend some time. Ruben is out walking Abby right now but the mood hasn't hit yet. I know I will feel so much better once I do. That's so true about men trying to solve the problems. I can just see Ruben's eyes glaze over and can tell I'm losing him when I start to get emotional. Somethings are best done alone. Thanks for your kind message.

  3. Fantastic writing – thank you

  4. You write so beautifully of your memories of your mom and Barbara. I could picture them in the convertible, picture the sisterhood of friendship that sounds like it permeated your home growing up … and the Kennedys! What wonderful memories for them to pass down and for you to experience yourself. Have that good cry and let it all out. Go for a long walk to someplace private if you have to. Lee and Ruben are so much alike … if the tears are just needed for release and healing, if they just ARE, and aren't about something they can SOLVE, they aren't sure what to do : ).

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