A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine from the old days (who I actually hardly ever see) invited me to attend the wake of his deceased mother, who had passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. I had no idea WHY I was invited, but I knew somehow, mysteriously, that it was inevitable I would be attending. Our mutual friend picked me up and we drove out to the tired, old house in Reseda “Mom” had lived in. It was late in the afternoon…a hot, dry Tuesday. There, we were greeted at the door by the late woman’s husband: A very kind and sweet Hungarian fellow (“Mom” was Scottish, by the way). The couple had spent 51 years together. 4 children. 6 grandchildren.
Fifty. One. Years.
As I stood among the friends and relatives, sipping a glass of Mark West Pinot Noir, I couldn’t help but notice how relaxed and relieved everyone seemed to be. “Mom” had clearly suffered enough. There were pictures and stories and laughter and anecdotes about her floating all over the place. And no one seemed at all angry or sad or feeling the need to shake their fist up at God. One of the sons was even wearing a kilt. And there was fried chicken and fruit and all kinds of snackage being passed around.
I just kept looking at all the photos, new and old. And feeling the warm, oddly familiar energy of the house. And talking with the sister of “Mom” and getting all the good, spicy bits about how awesome she was at life.
I guess what still haunts me is this picture my friend posted of “Mom” on Facebook. I didn’t even know this woman. Never met her. Yet for a good 90 minutes at that tired, old house in Reseda, whose walls had obviously endured SO much family stuff over the years…I felt like I knew “Mom” enough to still be thinking about her this very day.
Life is so crazy sometimes. Salud, “Mom”.
UPDATE: I have since removed the photo because a few female friends of mine found it a little insensitive. Just know that it was a photo of “Mom” looking quite near the end. And even though her son had posted it publicly on his Facebook, I decided I would take it down here. See? Max listens!