Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I am not going to cry

Ok, I probably will, but maybe not as much as last year, and definitely not as much as the first year.

Today is the 3rd anniversary...is that even the right word?

Today marks the 3rd year of her passing. That sounds weird.

Three years ago today, I lost my mother. No, that sounds like I misplaced her at the mall.

Three years ago my mother died from ovarian cancer.

The first year, I took the day off and laid in bed with sad movies like The Family Stone, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and a picture of my mom propped up next to me. Kind of sad, but funny at the same time. "Just hanging out with my mom today," I told Ben.

The second year, I planned and executed the Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Awareness Walk. We had over 80 walkers and raised over $3000 for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Some walkers came in as far as New York, Florida and New Jersey (thanks ladies!). This event will return next year, 08-08-09, mark your calendars, this will also be the date of my (shh, it's a surprise) 40th birthday party.

This year, hmmm, what to do. Oh, I know, a tribute post.

My mom:

She had a great laugh and used it often.

She was smart, number smart, book smart, but sometimes lacked common sense. "How much water do you think is under Long Island," she once asked. HUH?

She was quick witted. "Mom, I need gas money," I said as a poor college kid. "Here is a quarter," she said, "when you run out of gas, call your father."

She was bald, not all her life but that is what my kids remember. They were just 7, 4 and 1 when she died, she had been battling this cancer for 5 1/2 years. "Look, it's Grandma," Griffin once said while looking through the Sunday paper. What? I look and he points to a picture of Bruce Willis, you know BALD Bruce Willis. She thought that was hysterical.

She was everyone's mother. Her co-workers dubbed her the Office Mom, she brought in snacks, listened to family stories, took care of issues, and was generally mom-like to everyone.

She liked to host parties and have a good time. She had a "Meet the Sisters" party when her 3 sisters came out to say goodbye, 1 month before she passed away. Over 100 people came. What is amazing is the invitees were called with a few days notice of the big party.

Me and Mom at the Meet the Sisters party.

She liked to travel. Three weeks before she passed, she decided we all needed a family vacation to Southern California to visit my brother and his family. We spent 10 days telling stories, laughing and crying, took family pictures, and tried to forget it was the last time we would be together. My fabulous cousins (her sisters' daughters) came out to California for the weekend to say goodbye to Aunt Sue also. The above picture with Hayden is from that trip.

I know what you are thinking, and yes, I was too tan and she was too pale.

The original 5 of us: Susie, Vinny and me in the back row, with Mom and Dad down front.

The entire family. Ben and I and the boys are on the left. Look how little my boys were then.

She got mad, but only occasionally. Our favorite story is when she told my uncle to "go F@@K yourself." This happened circa 1985, but it is a great story and has withstood the test of time.

Her motto: "It's nice to be nice." and she lived it everyday, except that day with my uncle, but really, he had it coming.

She wasn't a great cook, but we never starved. I must get my cooking skills from her. The smell of anything burning on the stove still makes Josh's mouth water for pancakes.

She didn't bake cookies from scratch, she took us to the bakery.

She didn't knit sweaters for the babies, she bought them from craft fairs. "The kids may not have a Grandma who can knit, but they have one who can shop."

She volunteered for everything. PTO president, PTO V.P, PTO hospitality, church Youth group leader, many church committees, many work committees. When she left for meetings, Dad would tell her to sit on her hand, so she didn't volunteer for anything else.

She lived her life to the fullest, was honest, kind and thoughtful. Her sisters had teal WWSD bracelets made for the Ovarian Cancer Walk. What Would Sue Do? Many people vowed to live their lives like she did. She was truly one in a million.

They were married forever, 41 years.

She was an overachiever when it came to gift giving. She would have to sneak over a few days before Christmas to drop off the first load of gifts for the kids. And my Dad would still remark on the huge pile they brought over Christmas morning. If he only knew...

One story she never heard, but would have loved, happened the morning after she passed away. Griffin, then 4, woke up and asked where Grandma was, we told him. (The night before, we had the kids say goodnight to her, we knew it was the last time, and sent them to bed. There are some things the kids shouldn't have to remember.) When Grandpa woke up, Griffin said to him, "Grandpa, I hate to tell you, but Grandma is dead." We really needed some comic relief and that did it. It sounds morbid and not so funny, I guess you had to be there.

If she said it once, she said it a thousand times:

"It's nice to be nice."

"I like melon but it doesn't like me."

"Guilt only works if you let it."

"I'll have a tall rum and Diet Coke. Not more rum, just more Diet Coke."

"Yes, a rum and DIET COKE. I like to get my calories from the rum."

"Your sister is the closest relative you'll ever have."

"No one gets out of this life alive."

"Dessert will appear when the table is clear."

"Did you wish him Happy Birthday on the skin flute?" WHAT?! Ok, she only said that once, but really Mom!

I still miss her. I think of her often. I wonder what she would have said about this or that. But it does get easier and time does go fast. And life does go on.

So, I'll be sitting on the porch tonight with a tall rum and Diet Coke, not more rum, just more Diet Coke. You see, I like my calories from the rum too.


Elaine A. said...

What a lovely way to remember her...your mom sounds like a great woman and role model. And she's such a beautiful lady too. What wonderful memories you and your family are blessed with.

And by the way, I totally agree with her about the no knitting/just shopping thing. ; )

Jen Wescott said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mom! I wish that I could have met her. As your friend, I can definitely see so much of you in that description of your mom. How awesome!


Karen said...

I agree with the comments so far. Your tribute was beautiful!! It sounds like she was so much fun!

Ben said...

As I read my wonderful wife's post it was extremely hard to fight back tears! I only wish that everyone could have met my mother-in-law. She was truly an incredible woman, and still to this day I think of my favorite quote and use it often "Gilt only works if you let it" Rest in Peace, and I miss you. Your favorite son-in -law, oh thats right I'm your only son-in-law!!

LifeatTheCircus said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. She sounds like an amazing lady. What a great legacy she left for you and your kids.

I can't even begin to imagine how hard it was to say goodbye and how very much you miss her.

Enjoy the rum and diet coke tonight!

Hillary Dickman said...

Oh, come on. Really? You made me cry? I never got to meet your mom and here I am sitting at my desk with tears streaming down your face. And the doorbell just rang so I had to go help some man pick up his CSA vegetables while I was crying.

Wow...after that tribute you're going to have a lot more than seven subscribers. I think I'll go buy some diet coke now. I know what I'm drinking tonight.

Monica said...

That was so moving, Laura. Thank you for sharing that with all of us who never met your mom.

A Mama's Blog (Heather) said...

This was a very touching tribute to your mom and I am sorry you lost her. It sounds like she had a very full and happy life.

Thank you for sharing your mom with us, and enjoy your diet coke and rum!

4funboys said...

so sorry for your loss. What a great post... enjoy your memories!

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom! She sounds like one really cool lady!

And I think it is so awesome that you have established a walk in her memory. You sound like one really cool lady too! Your mom would be proud!

Hipmomofboyz said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. Enjoy all of your memories.

The Joys of having Boys said...

That was beautiful, (as I wipe away tears). I lost my mom 1 year ago in March to gallbladder cancer. She was only alive 6 months from her diagnosis.

Thank you for sharing those wonderful memories.

We are THAT Family said...

She is looking down at you right now, very proud, I'm sure! What a beautiful tribute to share with the blog world!

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Oh sweetie--that was beautiful. She is with you right now, in your heart.
Big hugs!!!

B Boys Mom said...

What a lovely post!!! Your mom sure sounds like she was a very wonderful and special person. Both of my parents are gone now. My dad in 2000 and my mom in 2007. I have very sad days too!

Jennifer said...

thank you for sharing! I lost my mother to cancer two year ago!

amy said...

Thank you for sharing memories of your mom with us. I loved reading about her.

Chelle said...

What a beautiful post for your mom. She sounds like the perfect mother and your post touched my heart.
Thank you for sharing.

crunchiemummy said...

That is a very beautiful post about your mom and what a wonderful way to remember her.

McMommy said...


I am sitting here wiping away tears.

I am not kidding.

I wish I had something really perfect to say right now.

But all I want to do is give you a hug and ask for more stories about your mom! She sounded positively WONDERFUL.

Carol said...

What a beautifully witten tribute!

She sounds like a wonderful person and mother.

Off topic I am so impressed with your super new blog look.

mom2natnkatncj said...

A beautiful tribute to your mom. I am sure she's looking down on you and smiling.

Harmony said...

What a beautiful tribute. It makes me wish I could have known your mother.
My sympathies on your loss.

tiger said...