Five years ago today on November 26th my mom, Beverly Joan Patrinely, died. It wasn’t a sudden death, she died from Pick’s Disease (which is similar to Alzheimer’s) and she’d been deteriorating. She was living in a home and I hadn’t seen her for a few years, mainly because I was having my own health problems and couldn’t afford to fly from California to Florida. The last time I spoke to her was on the phone when she was in the home. She’d actually lost the ability to speak by then but as I talked to her, she moaned and groaned loudly.
My mother’s sister called me with the news. My half-sister, Christa Patrinely Webster who lives in Florida, had put her in the home but never called to let me know anything. She never let me know what happened, where the funeral when or was and never told me what happened to my mother’s things. In fact, she and the rest of that family never called me again. My half-sister had called me several times when Mom was still living alone, usually in a panic to resolve some urgent issue she didn’t know how to handle, but my mother’s death apparently wasn’t something she needed to talk about.
I have lived through many deaths over the years and one thing I’ve learned is grief has no structure or plan. When you first learn of a loved one’s death, whether expected or not, you might handle it a number of ways. Some people become a crumpled heap. Others become Brave Soldiers. I figured I’d be in the last group, mixed with a tablespoon of familiarity and resignation. I was (on the surface) for the first few weeks at least.
However time passed and her death affected me more than I could handle. I found myself living in a mess of a house, unable to take care of the necessities life entails, only leaving to take care of my sweet beagle Polly. I suppose one could romanticize things and call it a “nervous breakdown”. Fortunately help came to me and I was able to recover although I still live with the debris of grief, the scars, the crumbling.
My mother was a conundrum in many ways. She was gorgeous and modeled in the late 50s. She was very tall - 6’2” - but that was always seen as a plus not a detriment. She could be incredibly naive and not so bright but she also raised me as a single mom through the 60s and most of the 70s. When she divorced my dad, it was just her and me living together for years. She could be funny but was often too conscious of other’s thoughts to be wacky. I ended up a lot like her but also so so different in many ways.
Once when I was around seven I asked my Mom, “If you could have been anything in the world, what would you have been?” Her answer was she would have been a back-up singer in the Supremes. Not Diana, just one of the beautiful women who moved gracefully behind her. Alone in our living room, we’d play one of her many Supremes records and the two of us would dance and sing along with the lyrics. I’d watch her laugh and her arms would sway and I thought what an awesome and gorgeous back-up singer she would have been.
"Some day, we’ll be together…"
In my heart and mind and soul, that day will be every day of my life.
Etta James - Miss You (Rolling Stones cover)
EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL - THE FUTURE OF THE FUTURE
“What ya gonna do about me now?”
Watch the video ‘Twilight Forever’ Blu-ray Clip: Chuckesme on Yahoo Movies . The filmmakers and the cast talk about the unsettling mechanical doll they worked with in “Breaking Dawn - Part 2.”
You Don’t Know Me At All ~ Bettye LaVette
Judy is tired of the games and the bullshit.
Silver Convention - Get up and Boogie 1975
Best. Audience. Ever.