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.
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.