And the remembrance of my mother's birthday 105 years ago next Thursday is the latest in the month out of the occasions I'll be remembering here. Still, it became top-of-mind today because of its entwining with more recent events and one of the others we come upon remembering this month.
October has long included two birthdays and an anniversary in my family; in order: my oldest sister Sandy's wedding anniversary from October 21, 1967; their older daughter's birthday from October 23, 1969; and my mother's birthday from October 27, 1916. Not long after Eleanor joined the family, it also began bringing the sad remembrance of Sandy's too-soon passing in early October of 1988. I've now lived more than half my life without her, and only this week did I tie that loss to one we're feeling so recently and vividly of a friend we never even shared a hemisphere with.
For this occurred to me today: that Eleanor and I are now both within sight of the age (72) that my mother was just short of when Sandy passed, and that her daughter's age wasn't too far off (49) from the age our just-passed friend J had attained. The one thing I specifically remember from Sandy's funeral was Mom approaching the open casket, crying, and saying, No parent should have to bury their own child. I "got" that intellectually at the time, but at the time I'd been away over a decade, was beginning our own family from 300-plus miles away, and I probably saw Sandy a handful of times a year and talked on the phone barely much more. Mom, on the other hand, lived 15 minutes away from her oldest child, saw her almost every week, and probably talked with her every day. I don't think I could have felt the emotional sting that she did. It was a sting that began her own decline through depression into dementia that would fell her barely ten years later.
Feeling the loss this week across similar years, albeit of a never-met friend from thousands of miles greater distance? Now I understand far more of what Mom meant by that.
Yesterday was the 54th anniversary of Sandy's wedding. I was the ring bearer and the ooh-er and ahh-er at the ceremony; I was home with the babysitter for the festivities to follow. She managed to make it to our wedding twenty autumns later, after her decline had already begun, and one of my most cherished moments from our own after-festivities was this one. It was captured by a last-minute second photographer who begged to shoot our wedding and reception for an RIT photography project:
Her husband would survive. Eventually he would remarry, a woman who moved into that near-to-Mom's home and devotedly erased every trace of Sandy's life from it over the next few years. When he passed not quite 20 years later, my sister was not remembered in any way in or at his memorializing- except to the extent that I, our sister, and our nieces made it so. We still do and always will. Muriel can go fuck herself if she's even still alive.
That older of those nieces turns 52 tomorrow. Sadly, we no longer speak. Other than me seeing her at her father's 2007 funeral, we last saw her in her Florida town in 2005, at a time of crisis of birthing and marriage she soldiered through with family's love and help. She later remarried, to a man who has crossed her over to the dark side of Trumpernuttery that now comes between us. Until we're needed again, when of course we will be there for her and all will be forgotten.
Other memories pock their marks this month.
October 13th would have been the 62nd birthday of my longest standing friend in the world. Janice grew up with me, shared a youth of common experiences, lost touch with me for decades, but finally reconnected for a final blessed few moments on her way to speaking at a conference at a near-to-us SUNY college in 2009. Mere months later, she was gone; a sudden and merciless victim of cancer. I learned, literally this minute, that her husband Doug also passed, back in 2015. They had two talented and caring boys who now have no parents as they age into their 30s.
On a happier note, I did remember to mention here recently that this month includes Pepper's presumed sixth birthday. We'll never know for sure, as she was a stray rescued on the streets of Buffalo two years later. But when they found her, she had a microchip with an "October 2015" date in it and nothing else to identify her. (It phones home to us now.) Her three-plus years in her forever home here have been full of joy, hiliarity, occasional stress (especially with strange contractors lying in insulation) but especially a sense that we rescued her and the reverse was also true.
Finally, this week includes Gotcha Day for the crazy little kitten who came home with his brother of (probably) another father just a year ago. Krispie and Pop were renamed Bronzini and Boz, and for two glorious months, they played, they fought, they snuggled and purred. Then the little orange guy had his second vet visit, where "failure to thrive" was becoming a concern. Three weeks later, he was gone, passing quietly in the night by my side surrounded by two of our older four-legged brood. The B-Man is thriving, though still on the runty side and barely able to get up on a counter for his noms without help or an extra boost from a counter or trash can. But he's brave, and crazy, and gets along with all of us, including his slightly older stepbrother Jack who's been here since April. They fight to the death and then spoon in the sunshine.
A good prescription for all of us, that last part.... This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1673014.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.