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April 03, 2004 - 12:03 p.m.

In Memorial


Today is my Mom's memorial service in Phoenix Arizona. I won't be there. I'm not going, mainly because I don't have two dimes to rub together. I also believe that memorial services and funerals are mainly for the people left behind. I realize it's a way to honor the person that has passed, but I do that every day by the way I live my life. I honor my Mom and Dad every day in the way I treat people; in a way they would appreciate, in the way they taught me to live. That serves a greater tribute, more than flowers and cards and music. I honor my parents every day, and they are always with me in spirit. I have the memories of them which keeps them alive in me, as long as I live.

I wrote something a few days ago, to be read at the service today. It expresses my memories of her. Here it is for you, dear readers:


Dear Mommy,
I call you that because it brings me back to earlier days. That's what I like to remember.
We talked once recently about being alone. Your alone-ness was a little different than mine, because you were left alone after a long lifetime with Dad. I don't think you ever got used to that. It's a hell of a thing, having your life's partner cut away from you like that, and I could tell that you never recovered. But now you're back with Dad now, back where you belong.
In my early years we spent a lot of time together, you and me. The older kids were off at school. You had your daily routine, and I remember playing around the house while you got things done. It was just you and me and Specky in that house. Boredom and little boys give way to mischief, and you warned me many times:
"Don't tease the dog."
"Don't tease the dog, John."
"Don't tease the…"
I would like to thank you at this point Mom, for casting the deciding vote in my favor, when the dog ripped a hole in my lip, a scar I carry to this day. I deserved it. You remember now, a vote was taken on that day whether the dog or John should go after that. It was against me I think, four kids to one mom, but your vote carried more weight.
I have memories of you, indelible ones. We weren't church-goin' folk, but you had those years of Catholic moral value that you carried with you and imparted to all of us. It was that strong moral sense that makes me what I am today.
I wasn't a very good student in school, but you sat with me and tried to help me with my homework. They have a name for that now, and medication for it too. Back then it was simply known as "Johnnie doesn't Pay Attention Syndrome." It didn't stop you from pushing me; you were just as stubborn as me.
You were there for me when I pedaled my bike home from school for lunch each day, when my fear of losing you was at its strongest. You understood the reasons, because Tommy lost his mom to cancer, and I was afraid the same would happen to me. You were there when I overcame my fears and could stay alone. You were there when I finally graduated from high school and decided to leave for college. You were there when I decided I didn't want to go back, and you stood by my decision. You were there when I left again, that time for good. You were supportive when I married and divorced, and married and divorced again.
You were always there. You're not there now physically, but you are now here inside me in spirit. The things you taught me, your wishes for greatness in me, the hopes for my happiness are all living inside me now. That part of you will never die. It's good to have you here. I was saddened by your passing, but comforted by the knowledge that you would be with me in spirit. We talked about that many years ago. We had a common interest in the spiritual realm; and I'm not talking about Jesus and collection plates either. We knew of a world beyond this one and connections that can be made, if one just pays attention to it. I feel Dad's presence from time to time; surely not to the magnitude that you felt, but I know he's there.
Your maternal power is the force I borrowed when raising my own kids. You always asked for more pictures of them, but I know that you can see them clearly now. They're fine handsome young men, aren't they? Of course they are, because they look a lot like you. I hope that you visit them often; they could use your help as they strike out on their own soon as independent people. They'll need your help at times. I know you'll be there.






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