Saturday, August 12, 2017

Toasting The One Who Kept Me From Crawling Through

Joan Marie Kelly Kenny
"Mom" (06/13/28 - 06/03/17)

On the sixty-eighth day following Mom's death, which came on the three hundred and fifty-fifth day of her eighty-eighth year, her life shall be celebrated.  This afternoon, beginning at four o'clock, a Celebration of Mom's Life will happen at Taylor Pavilion in Belmar.  All of the pertinent information regarding said celebration is here.  The theme is celebratory.  The dress code is casual.  Taylor Pavilion is located on the beach in Belmar between 5th and 6th Avenues so I recommend wearing shoes that can be easily removed should you desire to walk barefoot in the sand. 

Today is a day to which I have looking forward with anticipation and anxiety.  Mom is the great hero of my life.  She is the person from whom I learned that strength and volume are not inexorably linked concepts.  She is the one who taught me the importance of never panicking, an ability that can in fact save your life.  It has saved mine.  More than once.  Mom instilled in me the importance of being true to your own code of conduct and the importance of discounting the noise generated by the uninformed.  It turns out that ignorance is not only blissful, it is often loud.  

Ours was a unique relationship. Dad died at the end of the school year when I was in eighth grade. He left no life insurance (his multiple heart attacks made him a risk no carrier would insure) and no will, while taking with him roughly 80-85% of the income on which our household depended.  By the time I started eleventh grade, Mom and I were the last and the second to last of the Mohicans. I had a birds-eye view of just how tough her day-to-day was.  I lived it right along side of her. 

It was an unrelenting grind, the harshness of which we chatted about regularly over dinner, a meal that three night a week consisted of such delicacies as bologna sandwiches or scrambled eggs.  She was afraid of course.  I was too.  Yet she not only controlled her fear, she harnessed it into the energy necessary to keep on keeping on.  It never manifested itself into panic.  It was then and there that I learned - from watching her - that fear and panic are not interchangeable concepts.  Fear energizes. Panic paralyzes.  Mom spent eighty-eight-years-plus fully energized. She spent not one goddamn moment paralyzed.  

Mom is the great hero of my life.  Yesterday.  Today.  Tomorrow.  Forever...


...and may I honor her always by carrying with me the lessons she taught me for however long I may live. 


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