Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm past ready for a new album

from these guys, but until one appears, enjoy this.

Okay, and this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The memorial service

As planned, we held it today at Mom's church, The First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. The family reception started at 11:00 a.m., and for an hour we visited with many different people. Some were current friends, some were old friends, and others were folks I've never met. The common thread that tied us all was Mom. She touched a lot of lives. I'm proud of her for that.

The service included music Mom loved, courtesy of the choir and music director/pastor of worship, Greg Crane. Somewhere around 50 choir members came out to sing; Mom would have loved it.

Senior Pastor Walter Draughon, III ran the service and did an excellent job. I am not of any particular religious persuasion, but Mom was a devout Christian and member of this church. Walter conducted an excellent sermon that reflected Mom's respect for all religious beliefs. Walter struck me as a guy I would have enjoyed discussing religion with.

My sister, Liza, and I spoke as well. I delivered a tightened and somewhat reworked version of the blog entry I posted last Saturday, and it was rough going. I teared up way more than I had hoped I would.

Afterward, friends in the church supplied food, and many people ate and socialized more. I visited with people, but I just didn't want to eat, not then.

My brother, Martin, then took me to the airport. It was great to get to spend time with him and his family this past week, though obviously I wish the circumstances had been different.

After a long time and two delays at the airport, we flew home.

When I landed, I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere, but that feeling will pass. My normal life will resume. I'll have to conclude Mom's financial affairs, a process sure to be more annoying and lengthier than I would like. As I drive to work, I'll probably start to call her and remember I can't, and that will hurt. A lot will hurt, but less with time.

I won't stop missing or loving her, though, nor should I. Nor will those many other people who came today, nor the many who knew her and cared for her and could not attend.

All of this is as it always is and always has been with the death of someone you love, as natural a part of life as eating and sleeping, but that knowledge does not, right now, make it any easier.

I'm going to stop writing about Mom's death, at least for a while, because I need to deal with my life, with the overdue book, with all the people I care about.

But, wow, do I miss her, and wow, do I wish that just one more time I could tell her...

...I love you, Mom.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A generation passes

For most of the part of my childhood that I can remember, I didn't have a dad. Ed, whom Mom married when I was sixteen or so, arrived too late to ever really be my father.

Mom was my only parent.

And now she's gone.

In my family, the generational clock just ticked forward a notch. I have no parents, no grandparents; I am the senior one of my generation.

I can't honestly remember the last time I consulted Mom for advice, but it was always nice to know that she was there. I took her for granted in the way that we always do our parents; they're fixtures in our lives, people we can count on.

And now she's gone.

Tonight, I am very sad. I expect I will be sad off and on for some time. Life will resume its normal pace. I'll think of her and talk of her, and most of the time it'll be with laughter and love and the occasional "you know Mom" shake of the head, but sometimes it'll be with sadness, because I won't be able to call her the next day.

Tonight, though, it's almost all sadness. As awkward as hugging her always felt, I sure wish I had done it more.

Hug your parents while you can. It ought to be a rule somewhere.

I know there's so much funny and loving and good and frustrating and silly and powerful and just plain boring stuff to remember about her, as there is about each of us, but I can't get to those things right now. I can feel only the sadness.

I suppose that's natural and healthy, but it sure does suck.

Damn, Mom, I miss you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Bruce

Mom was big on loyalty, and so am I.

The Boss's new album, Wrecking Ball, is due March 6. This song is its first single.

Let it roll.

Many kind folks have asked what I need to get through all of this. My usual answer is one form of truth: "Nothing." I don't. I get through it, whatever "it" is. That's what I do.

At another level, I don't really know what I need. I don't even consider the topic to be relevant; what matters are the tasks in front of me, the people I need to take care of, the things I need to do.

I do know that I'm very fortunate to have a lot of folks who care about me, and their support, the support of all who have written me, does touch me. Thank you, all; forgive me if I'm not good at expressing that gratitude.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nothing is simple

Dealing with my mom's death at times makes me feel like I'm in a Monty Python sketch. "The toughest thing about death," they might say, "is the paperwork."

Really, nothing is simple. You can't make progress without a death certificate, which you can't get without clearing other milestones, and on and on. I simultaneously have nothing to do and more than I can do. I expect dealing with her affairs will be a part-time task for multiple months--and her affairs were extremely simple.

Meanwhile, for those interested, here's another Mom Fun Fact: when I was a teenager, I learned that she had for many years loved the music of jazz piano great Erroll Garner. I'm not a jazz fan and never have been, so to me his music generally sounded like most jazz does: as if the players are just noodling about endlessly. I accept, however, that this reaction is probably simply a reflection of how little I understand music.

In Mom's honor, here's Garner playing one of his most famous songs.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Most of my days follow the same basic pattern: work, write, etc. Today was rather different, as I spent it with my brother at a funeral home, a bank, and a church. All the people we encountered were helpful and very nice, and we made real progress, but I found it all exhausting. I suppose everyone does.

Because I lived far from her, my mom existed primarily for me on the phone and in my head. I can't call her any longer, but she's still in my head, as she always will be. As I meet more people she touched, I learn with a certain bit of pride in her that she's in the heads of far more people than I had ever realized.

I don't expect anyone reading this to attend a memorial service for her, but I've had so many requests for information about the service that I'm putting it here.

This Friday, February 17, 2012, at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg, a reception, with the family greeting guests, will start at 11:00 a.m. A memorial service will follow immediately at noon. Should anyone feel inclined to send flowers or some such thing, Mom asked instead for donations to the Student Scholarship Fund of the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg.

Now, because Mom's all over my thoughts, I thought I'd share a Mom Fun Fact. Like me, she very much enjoyed the silly movie, Bandits. She was particularly fond of the strange tics of Billy Bob Thornton's character, such as the line he utters at the end of this short scene.

My favorite scene in the film is the one in which this lovely Pete Yorn song plays.

You know, it's always hard to remember that your mom was once the girl someone loved, the woman who made the hearts of multiple men sing, the one who loved fiercely and was fiercely loved, but I think it's good to remember those facts, at least on occasion, at least on this occasion.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Waiting and waiting

There's a great deal to do when your mom dies, but as it turns out, you can't do much of it on Sunday. Tomorrow, we have a key meeting and then might be able to make some headway on the memorial service, but today all we could do was make some calls and start some of the key discussions.

So, we talked, played, worked, and ate out.

Lunch was at a deli, Lucky Dill, that served a huge range of sandwiches. Both because it looked awesome and because I am stress eating at least a bit, I went for the chili cheese dog sliders.

Oh, yeah, that's health food at its best--but mighty darn tasty nonetheless.

Dinner was a nice salad and a Cuban sandwich at a cafe in Dunedin, followed by ice cream three doors down at Strachan's. Their ice cream is definitely worth the trip if you live in this area.

Tomorrow, with luck, we will make more progress on the plans.


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