I keep meaning and wanting to finish editing and to publish a post I wrote over a week ago, but life keeps rolling and rolling, sometimes over me. After dealing with punches of parental death and the aftermath of having to deal with the house I grew up in, this morning, I found out about the death of a contemporary of my father.
This woman was more than lovely. Although I only saw her at our summer place, Nancy was like a mother to any and all children around. She was warm, inviting, accommodating, stable, and kind. She and my father had been part of the same summer crowd as teenagers. So, their friendship went back about 70 years.
When I was a kid, we would spend the month of August on the coast of Maine in a small cottage that overlooked the water. Nancy’s family’s cottage was 3 doors down. Every year, when we’d arrive for the summer, the first thing we kids would do, is run door to door to see who was there (for their vacation), and go visiting. Usually, Nancy’s place was our first stop. Because her children were that much older than us, we would only see them sporadically.
One of the things I loved most about those summer vacations, was when we’d all pile into our various boats, loaded up with kids and coolers, and motor out to a neighboring island for a picnic lunch. The meal was always followed by a walk around the island and lots of socializing.
The other things I loved were the other social events: cocktail parties (the one time during the year my mother would let us kids drink soda), and dinners with friends (often times, cookouts). Nancy was just one of several siblings, and her sisters and brother had their summer cottages within a mile of ours. During the times when they would all be vacationing at the same time, I loved to be able to join their families. Their “normal” families, with mothers who were not mentally ill, and who I dreamed of having as my real mother. There were several kids who were around my age, and we all played together now and then.
When I was married, there at the chapel by our summer cottage, it was Nancy and her family who put up my husband-to-be, and who hosted my wedding day breakfast.
Those memories for me are gold. And losing Nancy is like losing one of my other, more normal mothers- even if we only spent a few weeks a year in proximity. I will miss her dearly.
The last time I saw her was at my own mother’s funeral, just over a month ago. She was frail (had cancer), walking with 2 canes, and had really lost her spark of life. At the time, it occurred to me that it might be the last time I’d see her, so I made sure to give her a big hug and tell her that I loved her. I’m glad I did. But I also know, that where she is now, she knows that we all love her, and I bet she can feel it all.