Tag Archives: grief

Hurry Back, Wizard


You can see where I get my glam thing

So my Mom would’ve been 80 yesterday (I think, if my math is correct…as she well knew, I suck at math) and I miss her like crazy. She had Alz which started about a couple of years or more before she passed, so the grieving process of “losing” her really started long before she died. It was brutal for my family to see her go from a sassy, quick-witted, life-of-the party “everyone’s Mom” to a person we just didn’t know; one fearful of her house and unaware of her surroundings. She would sort of go in and out of the dementia at times though – we had her in assisted living and, during one of my visits to Detroit to see her we were taking her back to her room. She didn’t want to go back in and we were trying to convince her it was ok. She looks at me and goes, “that woman in there (pointing to her room which she occupied alone) – she’s very, very ill…she needs to MACK THAT OUT with her doctor….” I’m like, “Mom did you turn into a pimp all of a sudden? Mack that out???” She goes, “You know, mack that out…” My sister’s boyfriend was standing behind her and I thought he was gonna bust out laughing.

Her personality would just pop in sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere. One of my brothers and sisters had taken her to the emergency room one day because she had fallen and hit her head. They had to wait a really long time to get in to have her examined and I guess she was just out of it and really acting ornery and squirrelly. My brother gets up at one point and says, “I’m going for coffee,” and she says, “oh, hurry back, wizard,” a term she used to always tease him with when he had fucked something up. Then they all just started laughing their asses off, including her. Demented levity.

My Sunday afternoons used to include a 2-hour conversation with Mom – every week we’d have a gab fest and she’d keep me up-to-date with the latest family doings. She’s been gone for 3 years now. It gets a little easier with time I guess, but we mark these dates like birthdays, dates of deaths and other occasions with a little bit of bittersweet melancholy.

And I’m mackin it out.



Ukelele Lady

“Oh! I love dragonflies! They do my two favorite things at the same time…f*#king and flying,” said the mother of my (then) boyfriend as we sat on the beach of Leech Lake, watching two dragonflies cruise by. Leech Lake is named after a John Leech – it’s not filled with leeches. I looked at her and thought, “I’m gonna marry your son.”

It’s been 22 years since the tragic death of my mother-in-law, Kitty. She and her fiancé were killed when a semi ran a red light. I don’t know, do we grieve differently when it’s shocking like that?

The year after Kitty died, I felt the strong need to do a ceremony of some sort, and decided to get a tattoo in her honor. She had a tattoo on her right arm – she wanted to show that she was cool in case she was ever infirmed and couldn’t speak. Kitty was a hospice nurse – her obit read “The Mother of Hospice in Minnesota Killed in Accident.” She didn’t really want to die in hospice care, but I don’t think she really wanted to go out in the style she did.


Maybe I need another one?

In the tattoo shop I sat in the waiting room, looking at pictures of tattoos. I really didn’t know what I wanted, or where on my body I was going to get it – I hadn’t thought it out that far. Then I saw the dragonfly and thought, “That’s it! Perfect!” Kore, the tattoo artist, was ready for me, and said, “Have you decided where you want it?” And without even thinking, I said, “Above my left breast.” Kore says, “Oh, that’s one of the acupuncture points for grief,” without knowing why I was getting the tattoo. So I don’t know if that was bullshit or what, but I did it and still love the tattoo. I think of Kitty whenever I look at it, and about f*#king and flying.