You know how when certain people enter a room, you just know it, even when you don’t? That was how it was with the mother of one of my best ever childhood friends. This week, I’ve had to say goodbye to her. It isn’t easy, but somehow I knew the day would eventually come. She’d been battling cancer. In just about everywhere. For more than four years. Enough already.
There was nothing in life that was ever so serious that it didn’t require some sort of joke. In fact, Mommy S., as I called her, has the distinction of being the person to tell me my first dirty joke. I was 11. Seriously. Are you ready?
“Ever hear the one about the gal with three boobs?”
“I don’t know, but I bet she was fun to dance with!”
Being the sheltered 11-year-old that I was, I didn’t get it. In fact, this joke was told during my friend’s slumber party. And I remember that most of us didn’t get it. Until, that is, Mommy-S. danced around the rec-room where our sleeping bags were spread, gesturing in that certain way until our mental light bulbs clicked on. I can’t remember who laughed harder, us or her.
I could always count on her to make light of just about anything. She threw great parties, went nuts with the decorating at holidays, and loved her Irishness. I loved that about her, too. She’s the one who made me love Barbara Streisand. I can still belt out every song from, “My Name is Barbra,” at the top of my lungs. (I still know every word to “Suite Zoo,” which was sung very loudly and off key by the gaggle of girls at that same slumber party.)
Most of all, she loved her children. Loved them in such a devoted way that I have seldom seen it displayed by other mothers. I know they have such huge holes in their hearts right now, which I hope over time can be re-filled with a lifetime of happy memories.
Mommy S. said she didn’t want a funeral. She’s Irish, after all, so throw a party, she said. I’ll do that tomorrow. With the Streisand blaring, and thinking of all the off-color boob jokes I know.
Speaking of Boobs…
It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ladies, you know what you have to do. Go do it. I’m making my appointment in the morning.