Monday marked the 81st birthday of my Mom Mom and the first of her birthdays since her recent passing. It was of course a solemn day for my Pop Pop, who continues to work through the immense grief understandably caused by the loss of such an extraordinary woman and best friend. However, for me it was a day of inspiration more than anything else.
To understand the essence of the gap she left in all of our lives, I would first need to describe her to you, which evidently is an impossible task. Describing my Mom Mom to someone who never met her is like describing a color to a blind man; you just can’t find the right words to do so. I have no better explanation for her other than this: when she was a little girl playing house, all the other kids in her neighborhood would fight over who could be the mom and who could be the dad. My Mom Mom on the other hand, always chose to be the grandma simply because it allowed her to sit back and boss everyone around.
Now don’t get me wrong my Mom Mom was never one to hold back her opinions but what I really mean from this description is that she was one of those outstanding personalities that could inherently conquer a room. She screamed life and in many ways that is why her death was so devastating to my Pop Pop. My biggest regret is not asking more questions about her life. She had so many amazing experiences in life that even after 40+ years of being with my Pop Pop she still had some untold stories of her own. My favorite was one that unexpectedly came up at the Easter dinner table.
I had just come back from a big trip so of course the first half of the dinner was spent catching up on who was dating who, who had gained a few, who was switching majors faster than a puma, and then we got into the good stuff: the stories. We were all listening intently to another story from her glamorous past in the advertisement industry when she veered off a tad.
“…and so then we were making out in the fireplace when-” she said with enchanting nonchalance.
“Wait! What?” my Pop Pop interrupted
“Oh Tony hush..”
Now granted my Pop Pop is hard of hearing so the abruptness of his reaction may have been due to a late register of what she was saying, but I always took it as his surprise to hear a new story after so many years together. The conversation then divulged into what making out was vs. hooking up, and yes, it was as uncomfortable as you would expect a conversation of this caliber to be between grandparents and grandchildren but that’s besides the point.
I think about her often and can’t help but smile with admiration at the luck she had for being one of the few people who cracked the code on how to live life as thoroughly as possible. I feel her with me driving me to take risks, explore and live more intensely every day so that one day, if I am lucky, I will be as filled with stories as she was.