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My Mother’s Birthday April 26, 1923 -1978 April 26, 2017

Posted by voolavex in birthday, mother, serial monster, funeral, life baggage, loss, dead, death certificate, despicable, Domestic Violence, guilt, Mann & Mann, marriage, murder, My Mother, serial monster, Social Issues.
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Back in the days when domestic disputes were shameful and unreported, my mother was the dead body in a domestic murder.

In a small blue-collar town in Massachusetts. On January 24, 1978.  It was a long time ago and it was a moment ago.  It was the tragic finale to many phone calls and plane ticket reservations and telephone commiseration for a mother who simply couldn’t.  She fought back, she screamed, she saw a doctor, she drank, but she could not leave with my two much younger siblings, or the pony or the house or the lingering affection she carried for a man who was a serial monster.  Bigamist, philanderer, narcissist, sociopath and murderer.  One sib says many calls of service were made to the local police – their hands tied by 1977/1978 concepts and legalities.  Another sib tells of death threats  made to them on the night of my mother death.  I did not know anything about this part.  I only knew my mother wrote and cried and simply said “he” had a girlfriend and she was confused and didn’t know what to do.  At 54 she was probably menopausal. Not much to go on.  She didn’t want to move out with the children or leave the pets and the laundry list of excuses women have conjured for time immemorial.  I was in Los Angeles and not welcome in her house. (Actually on February 10, 1958 I was no longer welcome in her life.  At 12, I thought it was because he really loved her.)  I blame myself for not listening harder and asking more questions.  And I had no idea that physical violence was part of the picture.  Neither of my siblings (19+ and 15) called me to ask for help. My mother had pride that went before all else.  Including her funeral.

Her death certificate from that time reads  COD: undetermined.  A residual fear stops me from requesting a new one.  She will still be dead.

She was only 54. Today is her 95th birthday. May I say she was beautiful and gentle and kind? May I say by the time I arrived at her house, anything of sentimental value that had belonged to her was gone?  That her grieving husband knew I knew and it was not pleasant?  That I swallowed my rage, stepped back and stayed for the children ( I am my mother’s daughter)? That I drank and sobbed and that the tables overflowed with funeral meats and that 200+ attended her funeral in Boston? That mourners continued;  people I never knew, arrived in tears? That it was the same funeral home by her high school best friend’s parents? Mann & Mann. That I had played as small child in their huge house upstairs? That my family went back as close friends of the Manns? That the grieving husband read a sickening tribute?. And that my own father wept with me in stunned sorrow?

In 1978,  it was simply another domestic dispute. Perhaps still in the local police records – on paper in a box; with so many others of the time.  

There was no investigation.  I knew of no interviews with siblings. That police never asked me anything.  My grandmother thought it was a heart attack.  She had just lost her only child.  Was it mine to reveal?  Information continued to seep through and very long after  I found out the history of the man she had married in 1958.  From his children; who loved my mother.  I should have wondered more about the words of my dear step-brother who walked in, in 1978,  crying, and said to me, sotto voce, “what did he do to her?”

 I have always known it was murder.  I have always known he patiently waited.  I knew she did not wash down 40 or 50 pills with vodka.  She didn’t ever take Darvon and that’s what they found. I know he sat beside her and watched. I have no idea how he managed to make it happen.  He died five years later; alone  in a rented apartment in Lawrence; the other woman long gone.  He was soup when they found him.  Dead five days of a heart attack in a fall from the up high liquor shelf. One he needed a step stool to reach.  In a closed apartment on a sweltering summer day.

 

He was short and bald and had good teeth.

I could kill him again and again for his crime but she would not have wanted that.  And dead never ends. They would have been married twenty years on that February 10th.

She has been gone 39 years. Since the day my  broken heart and endless anger met all at once.  And no one of us leftover has ever been able to move on.  We try to unpack that valise, only to realize that some things travel with you forever,  in your life luggage.

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Missing Elliott February 15, 2008

Posted by voolavex in Uncategorized.
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cat1.jpgcat1.jpgLast month on January 19th, our oldest cat, Elliott, passed away.  He was  just 18 years old and he exercised his prerogative to die.    He taught me that dying is a hard business.  And as much as I would love to believe he was fighting to stay with us – I know he had no concept of that.  He was merely taking his time and it was hard for him.  Old age and kidney failure were the cause of death – but until his last days he walked around, basked in the sun, drank water and broth, ate a little and slept a lot.  He weighed 4.5 lbs; down from his usual 15.  We hoped he would just go into that dark, good night at home, but try as he did, that good night remained dusk and finally it required our friend, our vet to help him over.  That part, though a difficult decision, was a final act of love and mercy.  He was in a coma and shutting down – but even so, his tiny, exhausted heart beat until the very end – in spite of a small sedative to ease him and a small dose of mercy that let him go. 

He had been mostly mellow in life – but death proved to outwit his laid back style and his stubborn streak emerged –  he was just not quite ready to go.  He spent his last night in my arms – surrounded by his sister and brothers and I hope he was comfortable – I held him like there was no tomorrow – knowing of course there wasn’t a very long one for him. His life-long, noisy, aggressive purr gave over to simply breathing and there we were, my face and his fur dampened by my  sloppy tears; Elliott wrapped in the same, safe arms that had first held him in 1990.   Requisat in Pacem Orange Cat.  You gave us happiness without end.  You convinced your new dad that orange cats were the best and you shepherded a house full of newcomers who could never have been as happy without you.  You had a pink, pig nose with its own special wrinkle that appeared when you groomed, an awful smelly breath (and many visits to the dentist), endless stripes and a face that insisted that  anyone who passed by, really, really needed to say hello – to which you quacked “meow” in return.  You did not scratch or growl.  Your endless patience when kittens sat on you and refused to move was epic.  You were the star of our building and the light of our lives.  As a little lad,  you spent many mornings upstairs with my godson, Oliver,  playing Ghostbusters; meowing loudly at his door to be let in, heading straight for the bedroom.  I liked to imagine you thought you were Dr. Egon Spengler.  You never stopped making us smile.  At one point, bags of catnip had to be taped to the ceiling – so amazing were your early skills at climbing and opening boxes.  Because you had been born around dogs you drank water like a Great Dane.  Your new dad called you Blocko because you decided between us was the right spot to sleep.  That was a short 16 years ago . Your long life, with few mishaps, led us into a sense of a forever that we have learned, simply doesn’t exist. But you left us far too soon Elliott.  And we still weep.  And we miss you.