Ode to Maudy
When we first met, I brought you flowers. I was trying to make a good impression. Who knew that it was the first and last time I would see you laughing and talking normally before a dreaded stroke would hit on Valentine’s Day 2007? Looking back, I wish that I had spent a little more time and had asked you more things, but my relationship with Eddy was brand new. I met him face-to-face the first time I met you. I was so caught up in meeting Eddy and making a good impression on him (it worked by the way) that I didn’t realize our time was so short.
In a way, you truly brought us together. After your stroke I came out much more often, fixing meals for your family, being there for Eddy, even making you bread pudding when you were still recovering in the rehab facility.
When Carl died, Eddy moved in with you and in a lot of ways simply picked up where Carl left off. He took on the responsibilities of changing the timer on the sprinklers, being home for dinner or picking something up to eat, putting gas in your car, emptying the dishwasher. I know you must have been so grateful to have him with you to help you grieve through your loss.
And then I came into the picture and mucked it all up. Eddy took me to Cambria for a weekend get-away and proposed. I think that completely cemented your dislike for me at the time. You had already lost Carl, you had suffered a stroke, and now I was taking your Eddy away. It was like losing Carl all over again.
For a long time I felt a certain resentment from you, but over time it magically melted away. We started to enjoy each other’s company. I loved to make you laugh and I loved to laugh when you brought up particularly embarrassing stories of Eddy or you simply cursed out loud because you could.
The last couple of years before you passed away I enjoyed our monthly day visits. We would pick a day that I would come and do whatever you wanted to do. Sometimes it involved doctor’s visits and sometimes just errands to this store or that, but it always included lunch. I enjoyed using the handicapped placard – what a bonus for parking!
I am a doer and the hardest thing to do was come visit you in the hospital and be completely helpless. Helpless to help you, helpless to console your family. It was awful! Just give me a task, a chore, anything! I will make it happen! How hard it was to fluctuate between hope of you getting well and the bad news of imminent death.
It’s been almost two years since you passed and I realize that I need to thank you personally for a few things. First and foremost, thank you for raising such a great man in your son. I love him with all my heart and am so blessed to have him in my life. Much more materialistic – thank you for introducing me to Brighton! Well, technically I suppose you introduced Eddy who introduced me, but you still get the credit. Thank you for instilling in your little family the importance of family. They were and still are completely dedicated to you. You done did good.
As I sit here and write this, I am looking at a small bouquet of dried flowers from your funeral. It’s today that I realized that the first and last moments of you for me started and ended with flowers. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “the earth laughs in flowers”. I will continue to see you laughing (with all of your own teeth as you so proudly declared) in all the flowers I see.