Thursday, April 14, 2011
Since Monday was the anniversary of Mom's death and Saturday is the anniversary of her funeral, I've been pretty weepy this week. I've certainly been thinking about her a lot.
Mom loved to help me (and later, Gary and me) buy major household items, or just buy them for us. Over the years, she was the generous source of at least two beds, an air conditioner, at least one refrigerator, a beautiful set of dining room chairs, a rocking chair, a bench for our hallway, and countless smaller things: knick-knacks and decorations, including a number of gorgeous needlepoint pieces she made herself. She'd grown up during the Depression, although her family was much better off than most. When I was a child, she struggled financially as a divorced woman raising two daughters (essentially without help from my father, whose alcoholism, for many years, kept him from being a good provider either for himself or anyone else). I never knew a time when she wasn't acutely aware of money, but she also loved spending it on nice things for herself and for us. Most parents love helping out their kids, but I think my parents, because of their family and personal histories, especially treasured that role. (My father never stopped drinking entirely, but he became quite a bit more stable -- and infinitely more financially responsible -- in the last twenty years of his life, and he was thrilled when Gary and I moved into our house. He flew out to help us, drove the moving van, bought us a fancy drill, and worked twelve hours a day fixing things around the new place.)
We didn't inherit a gigantic amount of money from my mother, but it's been enough to pay for a new roof and the new deck. Our tax refund this year -- which came indirectly from her, since we deliberately over-withheld on the inheritance -- paid for the new elliptical.
Today we got the final check from the estate, our share of the amount the attorney had been holding back in case any unexpected bills came in. "Hey, this will pay for two-thirds of the new awning," Gary said.
"Mom's still helping out," I told him. And of course I got weepy again, and even weepier when I called my sister to tell her we'd gotten the check.
My father loved sitting on our old deck, although it was so rickety that I cringed whenever I saw him inching across it. He would have adored the new one. So would Mom, and I know she'd be delighted that she helped us buy the awning for it.