ALICE BRIDGET CAREY BEST ~ REST IN PEACE MOMMY~ I LOVE YOU ALWAYS
Yesterday we buried my Mom.
I lie, we didn’t literally bury her because she was insistent that we do not, I repeat do not under any circumstances even think of holding a traditional wake/funeral or she would rise up and kick our collective ass. Over and over. In front of the entire world. With every ounce of Irish in her. And believe me, my Mom was Irish through and through and damn proud of it.
Now don’t get me wrong, my Mom was not the type of Mother who would even think about raising a hand to any of us. She didn’t have to, all she had to do in order to take control of any situation was to give that look she had down so well and whoever was on the receiving end of it would stop dead in their tracks. And if it was one of us three kids that infamous Carey Death Stare was aimed at, I can say from experience, our lives would pass before our eyes. Or perhaps, being the only daughter and a middle child at that, I was just a crybaby.
For those of you youngsters out there, a crybaby is what the politically correct world now calls “sensitive”. Alice didn’t take too kindly to politically correct terms, she called a spade a spade and a douchebag a douchebag because why waste words?
She wasn’t supposed to die, at least not yet. The facts might belie that previous statement, she was 84 years old, a breast cancer survivor, and a survivor of Hurricane Irene who somehow found it necessary to destroy our family home. But none of those things phased her in the least bit. She was a great believer in the old adage of picking yourself up, brushing yourself off and starting all over again. So that’s what we did. It took a little over a year to get the house rebuilt and my Parents moved back home the same day Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey. Luckily the only damage they sustained from Sandy was a power outage.
So my folks moved back home and we were on the road to Normalville. Due to the craziness caused by Hurricane Irene my Mom and I had to put our usual twice-a-year Cape May trips off until everything was back to what passed for normal.
Toward the end of March we were finally able to book our long awaited week at our favorite place in the world, and we even got our favorite room at the Victorian Motel. We didn’t do all of our usual Cape May things this time, it had been 2 years since we’d been there and honestly we were so happy to just be in Cape May we did a lot of nothing, because that’s what we wanted to do. Oh, the unexpected snowstorm while we were there may have had something to do with our desire to do not much more than spend the week in our suite talking and talking and talking some more, although I must admit we did spend a lot of time watching that damn Jodi Arias trial while eating Fish and Chips with malt vinegar, one of our usual Cape May traditions. All in all, as usual, we had a wonderful time. Spending time with my Mom has always been my favorite thing to do.
About 2 weeks after we got back home, my Mom got up in the middle of the night, tripped on her slipper and hit the floor hard, breaking her shoulder. My Dad took her to the emergency room where they put a soft cast on and sent her on her way. Of course, in the way of the depression-generation, nobody called me till the next day. So she was home with her right arm unusable and I did my best to go over the house and help as much as I could, as did my younger brother Tommy. Two days after Easter Sunday I woke up in my old bed in the house I grew up in only to find my Mom unable to walk. She seemed confused and had a hard time talking coherently. We called an ambulance because we weren’t able to get her into my car and she was admitted to ICU. Apparently she had some sort of infection that was affecting her kidneys so she had to have a few dialysis treatments as well as a blood transfusion. Her broken shoulder was the least of her problems at that point but against all odds she rallied enough to shock the doctors and they performed surgery on her shoulder.
They couldn’t believe how she improved but we were all so relieved that she was fine we did what the doctors said and made arrangements for her to go to rehab for a few weeks for her shoulder. Her birthday was April 17th, 2 days before she was being moved so we celebrated quietly in the hospital, planning a real celebration when she came home.
She was taken to rehab on April 18th sometime around 9pm and I spent many hours on the phone that day talking to doctors and nurses and everyone assured me she was fine, nothing to worry about, healthy as a horse, and every other cliché you can think of.
I believed them all and went to sleep that night planning on waking early the next morning so I could go visit her in the rehab place.
At 5:20am my phone rang.
They were sorry to inform me that my Mother passed away at 5:15am on April 19th.
I am lost without my Mother, my best friend and confidante, and I miss her more than I could possibly imagine.
I have been Blessed to have been her daughter, and Blessed to know that I take after her in nearly every way, except for the part where Mom was 5’2″ and I am 5’9.5″.
I have her beautiful blue eyes, I have her red hair, I have her gift for wit and sarcasm, and I have had the privilege to have known the finest woman I’ve ever known. It gladdens my heart to know my Mom is in Heaven, my own personal Angel to look out for me.
I just don’t know how I’m going to get through each day without being able to talk to her anymore.
And the truth is, using the word “was” in regard to my Mom is tearing me apart.
I love you Mommy, and these tears I cry for you are not the tears of a crybaby, but the tears of a grown woman, a loving daughter, and a best friend. You always have and always will continue to live on in my heart.