It’s hard to believe it was 10 years ago today that my mom passed away. Life goes on, yet even though she’s gone, she’s not away. She’s always with me. It’s such a strange feeling – and one I wish I could trade in for her physical presence. But that’s not how life works.
I took the time today to read her memoir. She wrote it when she was 50 years old and made copies and wrapped them each up and gave them to me, my dad, sister and brother at Black Angus in Fremont during her birthday celebration with us years ago.
I thought I’d share this fun passage from my mom’s memoir about her and my dad’s first dates back in 1963!
“Mom and Dad liked Hank, especially Mom. She was praying for me to meet someone a little older and mature. And who do I bring home? A Catholic, Italian college graduate with manners! Mom’s prayers were answered. I was embarrassed at first introducing Hank to Mom and Dad because I couldn’t pronounce his last name! Garbidino, Garbareno, Garbino….I stammered! It still took a few times after him repeating it for me to get it. My cousin, Chris, was living with us at the time and going to school in Fresno. (His family was still living in Maui then). In fact, Chris had taken me to my Junior Prom since I didn’t have a boyfriend. Hank kind of wondered about that and was a little jealous of my good looking cousin! Of course, I didn’t tell anyone at the prom he was my cousin. Anyway, when Hank brought me home from our first date, his Impalla stalled in front of my house and would not start. My parents were not home and it was 2:00 am. I called Mom over the Carreira’s house to see if they would be home soon so Dad could give Hank a push. Mom insisted I wake Chris up and make sure he chaperoned us until they could get home. Till today Chris and I laugh about that. I remember the look on his face when I woke him up. Dad and Mom were home quick and Dad was able to push him until it started. You would think that Hank would have gotten that starter fixed before we next went to the drive-in movies. The speaker didn’t work. There we were—stalled car, no speaker. He had to call Frank to bail us out. He didn’t want to call my father. The movie was “The Birds”. We met Frank and Judy for a barbeque right after they were married. Hank showed up with a six-pack of beer. That was a big turn off for me. I had sworn, because of my Dad’s drinking, I would never be involved with anyone who drank. But there were so many other positives.”
My parents’ story is extraordinary by anyone’s standards and I’m so glad I memorialized their life:
Hugs to all of you who have lost someone you love so much.
It’s a different world to be in that space, and it’s important to be with all the feelings that come with it.
Because it’s a real part of life and living, as much as people have a hard time talking about it, yet it affects each and every person on this planet – no exceptions.
We need to talk more about it. You might think – why talk about “it”? It just makes me sad. The pain of loss is too great.
But, the “it” I’m talking about is this “other world” that comes with being fully engaged with people who you love and feel close to who struggle, suffer, or are at the end journey of their life.
The experience is… how can I say it? Familiar… real… feels like home… not in a “I wish I could experience it every day” way, but in a wonderful, wholehearted, beautiful way that you don’t have to prepare for and wouldn’t want to miss.
When life comes calling, and you find yourself in the midst of that which you have no control, the best thing you can do is “be” with it all, by being with the people you love… as you are… in all your imperfection. There is no time to try and be anyone else.
It’s a whirlwind. And when you truly release all sense of control, which usually comes when you simply cannot keep up all those balls in the air, it’s a relief… and there YOU are.
You get to know yourself as you care so much for the person you love, and the actions you take and efforts you make in all your shaky uncertainty, are you at your best. And your loved one feels it. No words. This is when you’ll experience the beauty, the wonder, the timelessness, that is so hard to explain, yet I won’t stop trying.