My mom died a week ago today, on Friday July 1st just after midnight. For all intensive purposes…she could have been a friend of Bill W….but she wasn’t. For those of you who know Bill, you know what I am speaking of. She caused a lot of pain in people’s lives, and she would also be the first to give you ‘the shirt off of her back’.
She was the type of person who would walk up to the “Bag Lady” who was being ignored in The Javitz Center in NYC and ask her if she needed help only to find out that “Bag Lady” was Mrs. Javitz herself. She treated everyone equally whether you were the doorman at the Royal Orleans Hotel, Tennessee Williams, the waiter at her table, the garbage man or a famous politician. She taught me to be kind to everyone no matter what. We are all human and can fall on our face but we can also have a tremendous amount of success and make a difference in the world. With determination and a bit of stubbornness anything is possible.
She is the only person I know who was able to get an OK by the Mayor of New Orleans to bring a Norwegian band parading down the middle of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. Also, she fought to have a historical plaque transferred over from the wrong site to the actual home of Tennessee Williams.
She was so proud.
To me, my mom was a larger than life personality. She spoke six different languages fluently and whenever she came to my grammar school,( Mc Donough #15) everyone always talked about how beautiful she was and her charming Norwegian accent. She was the most culturally aware person that I have ever known. She knew about all types of porcelain, could look at a painting and name the artist, as well as know all of the great works of musicians such as Mozart and Beethoven.
She was passionate, headstrong and EXRTREMLY stubborn. There were MANY rough moments with her growing up; many that some would think unconscionable. But I believe I chose both of my parents before I arrived on this planet. My Dad gave me the gift of instinct and intuition and my mom created a life for me where those instincts got a lot of practice in order to survive and eventually thrive. That combination has taken me to places and allowed me to work with people that I could have never ever imagined that I would have the opportunity to help. Now I’m finishing a book and for better or for worse, I wouldn’t trade either of my parents for anything in the world.
By the nature of who my mom was, I was either going to sink or swim: I chose to swim. I’ve had the opportunity to continue to heal what blocks me as a human being in order to achieve my soul’s purpose and make a difference in other people’s lives. What an amazing gift – thank you mom! If you had not been who you were, I would have never become the person that I am today.
I’m extremely grateful that I stepped in and took care of her these last 4 1/2 years. I’ve been through a lot in my life(you name it) but, I had no idea how difficult it would be to oversee and make sure that she was well cared for in the final stages of her life. She suffered from dementia. Dementia can take on the form where someone becomes really nice, or it can go in the opposite direction. At times I thought to myself, “Monique what on earth were you thinking of by doing this!” But, when all was said and done, I knew it would be my blessing and I was right. I left no stone unturned no matter how I felt. I showed up, and I’m proud of myself for that. Really proud. I stuck it out no matter what. As I sit here and write this, I am beyond grateful that I did. If I’d known then, what I know now, I’d ask myself, “Would I do it again?” Absolutely, without a doubt I would do it again.
I can’t think about it all too deeply now. I will in time. I know I will miss our outings to the grocery store cruising around and getting ‘tasters’. Going into Starbucks on Kanan and getting her favorite Carmel Frappuccino drink, looking at dresses at The Closet and then getting into the car and saying “High Five Kimosabe!.” She would look at me role her eyes, put her hand up, give me the High Five while adding an emphasis on the E of KimosabE – with a Norwegian accent of course.
On the day that she died, I said, “Who am I Mom?” She barely replied under her breath, “Monique”. I said, “High Five KimosabE!” She lifted her hand and touched it against mine.
Especially now, I will miss her repetitive saying of “I am a Norwegian and I say what I think, feel and mean!” I would hear that over and over again, the dementia – adnausiam at times. I would say, “Mom, if you say that one more time I am going to scream!”
At this very moment, I would give anything to hear just one more time, “I am a Norwegian and I say what I think, feel and mean!” and to have the opportunity to feel like I want to scream. I love you Mom. Thank you for choosing to be my mom in this lifetime. Monique
A portion of CHAPTER 6 – GRIEF of my book
EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAS A BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END
“Grief can propel you forward when you realize how short and uncertain life is, and that every single thing in your life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The more you understand that concept, the easier it will be to understand that every human life, every animal companion, every relationship, every conversation, every moment-has a beginning, middle, and end. If you can accept the transitory nature of all manifestations in the Universe, the freer you will be.
You are reading this line in this book right now, but this moment will never come again. If you accept that just like this moment, everything in your life starts and ends, then you have a jumping-off point to accept death and to give yourself permission to live. If you love something, you will feel the loss when it’s gone. When you know that death is part of everything, you free yourself to experience it more thoroughly while it is going on, you stay in the moment of your enjoyment, you give it your all, and by doing so, you propel yourself into living fully right now.” – Monique Guild @ 2016