|Thelma Lucile Durham O'Shaughnessy circa 1953|
Dusty was looking forward to spending Easter with her daughter and her two young grandsons but aware the day was due to wear her out she decided to hit the sack, which actually was the living room couch, early.
Taking her Stardust Hotel mug from the drain board, the same mug she had bought home from that ridiculous trip she and her husband had won to Vegas many years ago, she filled it with recently reheated coffee leftover from the morning.
Being 12 hours old, it was bitter and on the crappy side since she switched from her usual Folgers to the house brand at Aldis's to save a few bucks, but she really didn't mind. As long as it was hot, black and in ample supply she was satisfied.
Coming back through the dining room she grabbed her Harlequin of the week paperback, her green metal ashtray and a fresh pack of fags. She always called them "fags" in her head but she learned the hard way not to call them that in public. People were so touchy nowadays.
She arranged the pillows at enough of a slope to allow her to read but not so much that she'd get short of breath. Damn emphysema really pissed her off some nights. With her cigarette lit, her book in hand, her coffee on a makeshift end table created from one of the dining room chairs with a broken leg, too unstable to hold anyone but perfect for her evening props, she settled in for a quiet smoke and a simple minded read.
Sometime after that and before Easter sunrise of 1998, she died.
And now 15 years later I can easily say...I miss her my mother more than ever. At 67 she was entirely too young yet on the other hand she had lived a very long and often very tough life. If anyone deserved a rest it was she.
But still, being selfish, I will imagine from time to time how much fun it would be to have her around still. No, not with her COPD, no one should have to live endless years with that, as unfortunately our father did, but man it sure would be fun to have her with us as a relatively healthy 82 year old.
I can see her tearing up the drive in an old Pinto (she and dad always had an eye for fine autos). I can hear her arguing with my GK Allana, who would be in shock after meeting the Matriarch of Arguing Purely for the Sake of. And I can see she and I wearing each others clothes, neither of us with any sense of style totally embarrassing the rest of the clan with our mommy "tennis" shoes, our men's T-shirts obtained at K-Marts last Blue Light Special and our stained used-to-be-white socks.
So yes, sure am missing her. Can't wait to hook up with her again, sit with her at the old Formica covered kitchen table and share what's left of the reheated, scummy topped coffee.
All in good time.