I can't sleep. I'm tired, but these days I'm up late and awake early. It's OK. I'll sleep next week.
Sister Melanie scanned a bunch of photos onto her laptop and a montage of our mom's life played on a big screen throughout the wake last night.
I was mesmerized.
Photos from infancy up until just this February. Old black and whites that look like they should be in a coffee table book.
Memories of the Great Depression. The Real Grapes of Wrath. This Is How Dirty Kids Get When There Is No Running Water.
Amazing, captivating photos. Swaddled in bed next to my oh so handsome grandfather. She and her big brother as babies in the tar paper shack in which she was born. Five little kids roaming around with Prince, their Canine Protector. Damn she loved that dog.
I could go on and on. Pictures from EVERY stage and age of her life. It was amazing.
Did I say that already?
Everyone was mesmerized. Over the three hours there was not a single minute when eyes were not glued to the screen.
It was her whole life.
Pictures of their wedding. There were 7 people there. Including them. It was illegal in half the states for them to marry. She wore a white Jackie O type dress and a little pillbox with that netting stuff over her eyes. He wore a black suit. They tossed rice. The couple who was their best man and matron of honor stood last night and saw the pictures he had taken 48 years ago after the ceremony. Oh lord the look on his face when those picts came up on the screen I took those pictures! The only thing that made me cry last night was looking into the eyes of that old friend, my mom's matron of honor. I felt like I was being sucking into a wormhole. It felt like those moments in Lost when they remembered. We held each other's hands and looked in to each other's eyes and so many memories popped in to my head. We just looked at each other and felt the connection that was my mother.
That's when I lost it. So I sat with Bruce and buried my head in his shoulder and he whispered stuff in to my ear and I felt better. He's good at that.
Pictures of her in her 30's and 40's. So hip in a not even trying way. I mostly remember her in sweatpants. She was like me. She just wanted to be comfortable and only sometimes really cared how she looked. Sitting in a bikini at the swim club. Sitting at a party. Sitting in the dining room.
Sitting with my dad at a party. The two of them looking totally Mod Squad. Stunning.
She had told us that picture was taken at a key party. They had met a nice couple and been invited to a party which turned out to be an honest to god 70's wife swap affair. Put your keys in a bowl. Close your eyes and pick a key. That's who you go home with.
OMG. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?
They got the hell out of Dodge. I'm not sure if they laughed over it or freaked the fuck out. We all got a helluva good laugh though. To think that our parents were cool enough to be unbeknownst to them invited to that kind of party. too funny
A guy we knew as kids from our church youth group watched the montage. At my dad's 80th birthday party I remember him saying
there was always something about you Patrick sisters. Like The Virgin Suicides.
He looked at the screen and said MILF. I cracked up. He claimed it just slipped out. I said I know, right? She was hawt. And look at that one. Drunk and hawt. He said you can't beat that. Jack said did he just say MILF? Mom do you know what that is? Are you sure? Do you really know what MILF means?
I said with a sigh yes Jack, I really know what MILF means. Jack said did he just say MILF and Grums in the same sentence?
I said jeez Jack look at her. She was gorgeous.
Gorgeous. Not in the classic way. She had the high cheekbones and curved nose and hooded eyes of her Shawnee ancestors. She always hated her nose. She had the fair skin and hazel eye of her Norwegian mother. Thick brown hair that I think always kind of aggravated her.
Pictures with all of us through the years. Pictures with her grandchildren. Pictures of her visiting her family of origin on the west coast. She maybe saw them half a dozen times over the past 50 years.
Sister Adrienne looked at me and said she looks happy. in all the pictures she's happy
I don't understand. In my memory, she was never happy. But in these dozens and dozens and dozens of pictures she's happy. Not just smiling.
A happiness you can see in her eyes.
I wish I remembered her as happy. I wish I had known her better. I wish she could have let us in. She didn't know how. But it was such a relief to see that she wasn't as miserable as I remember. She had many moments of happiness.
Kori wrote this. It really moved me this week.
If I could be so bold as to say to all you mamas: Let your children in. Don't worry so much about teaching and setting an example. Don't worry at all about the laundry and dust. Let your children see who you really are. Tell them stories of your childhood. Write down your memories and what makes you tick. The good and the bad. Let them know you as WOMEN. Be honest about who you are.
Drag them to soccer. Be a PTA mom. Or a career woman. Or whatever. But let your babies know the REAL YOU.
That goes for Daddys, too.
I wish I had known their secrets. There's no need for secrets. We're human and flawed. We're human and amazing.
We're magical. We're super heroes.
Let your children in.