Today is the 5 year anniversary of the day my mom died. I still miss her horribly, and I’m still pissed off sometimes that she had to go and die on me, but it’s easier than it was. More of a dull ache, not so sharp and jagged. She was a real character, boisterous and loud at times, always with an opinion on almost anything. She loved her kids to distraction. She was my friends’ favorite mom, because she would listen to them, and it was obvious to them that she genuinely liked them and cared about their problems, their hopes, and dreams. She was completely besotted by Maya, wrote her stories and letters and wished she lived closer so they could be close friends, wished she had more money so she could buy her things. I miss her and wish she could be here to see how wonderfully Maya is turning out. She would be so proud.
A few weeks ago was Ted’s father’s birthday. He died almost 20 years ago now, and he would have been 91 this year. We celebrated his life by going out to dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, The Sizzler. Ted ordered the meal that he would have eaten, though he didn’t go so far as to order his steak well done. In the same spirit, we decided to have my mom’s favorite dinner tonight, to celebrate her life. Fried Chicken and Angel Food Cake, which she wrote about on her own blog.*
For my 17th birthday we were invited out for three birthday dinners, and Auntie cooked one for me as well. Grandma asked me what I wanted, and I said, “fried chicken and angel food cake;” Mommy Lyle across the street asked me what I wanted, and I said, “fried chicken and angel food cake;” Mama asked me what I wanted, and I said, “fried chicken and angel food cake;” and Auntie asked me what I wanted, and I said, “fried chicken and angel food cake.” At one point, Auntie asked me if I was sure I wouldn’t like something else at one of those meals. “Oh, no. I love fried chicken and angel food cake,” I answered obliviously. Only years later did I realize that while I got to eat fried chicken and angel food cake four nights in a row, Auntie had to. But, she never complained about it.
*Link is to the post she wrote, about her life with her great-aunt Julia, who was likely the most important person in my mom’s life in many ways, and for whom I am named.
Tonight while we’re enjoying our fried chicken and angel food cake, I’ll be thinking of both of them, my mom who was so good to me, and her great-aunt, who was so good to her.