August 3, 1931 – May 22, 2016
Daughter, of her parents
Sister, to her younger sister, and even younger brother
Wife, to her husband
Mother, to her two children
A source of joy to some; to others she was a puzzle, an enigma. Short-tempered, violent, surprisingly forgiving of some errors. Even more frustrating was her ability to remember some behavioral slight for months (years in a couple instances) coupled with the desire to keep you informed of the slight.
Frying pans, umbrellas, whatever came to hand might be used to augment the display of her wrath.
She married our father because she was, in her own words, “spoiled goods.” Trust me, it makes your kids feel welcomed in to the maternally protective embrace when they determine that they are the offspring of an otherwise unwanted marriage partner.
And the dogs.
If she had spent 1/4 as much time on, and with her kids as she spent on her blessed dogs the kids might have a slightly different experience, opinion.
She, and her sister, married someone (anyone?) to get away from her parents. She married my father, her sister married a Catholic, my uncle never married (for a variety of reasons socially untenable in the time) and she said to me ‘I’ll not speak to you as long as you’re with that woman.’
But ‘that woman,’ Arlene, was the best thing that could happen to this son, at that age, and in those conditions. And Arlene died, owed money for endless dog and puppy-sitting, that dear old Mom conveniently ‘forgot.’
And when Arlene and I split, all my fault (or at least the mechanisms of a forced ‘breakup’ are examined it’s all my fault) dear old Mom refused to talk to me.
Then it was time to go to the vet’s, to get neutered, and her first concern was “What about the family name?”
You didn’t want to marry him and now you’re worried about the family name?
I was there when Walter (also ‘Brad’ to his friends) died, in effect I killed him by authorizing the suspension of life-support. I wrote his obituary. I organized his wake.
I’ll not do any of that for Mildred Evelyn Parsons, my mother. Our mother.