Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Hope She Would Have Been Proud

It was odd how calm and non-emotional I've been about this celebration today. I've made sandwiches and called people and asked them to bring flowers or greenery from their gardens and yards. I've been all Kumbayah about it. It will happen. It will flow.
And then about an hour before we were supposed to be there I suddenly began to weep.
I thought about our Colin and how much I miss him and how when Kathleen directed the last play I was in with him, she did such a good job and we had so much fun.
I thought about how in rehearsal for that play and we were trying to figure out the logistics of a direction and we did the best we could and it ended up with Colin's face in my crotch on a sofa and for a moment we were all stunned and from the theater, Kathleen said, "Works for me. How about y'all?"
And that's how we did it.

I thought about all the times Kathleen and I did our act as the Miller Sisters Foley company and we smashed cabbages and kicked garbage cans and trotted coconut shells and made wind sounds and ray-gun sounds and fighter pilot sounds and made avalanche sounds by dumping a wheelbarrow full of gravel into a kid pool into the orchestra pit below the stage and on and on and on.
Whatever we could do to make the sounds and more importantly, make the audience laugh by our dead-pan delivery as we performed our roles with our 40's lady's hats on, our crochet needles and knitting needles working up and down between our sound effect moments, our passing of the flask between us, the flask holding redbush tea, I thought about all of it on the stage where people came to speak about her. Tell stories about her.

All my kids were there and Owen and Gibson as well. And Jason and Vergil and can I tell you that by the time the service began, the sky was as blue as the eyes of Paul Newman? Not a damn cloud in sight.

(Owen was hiding.)

Whoever wanted to got up and told a Kathleen story. I told one. And it was about how when I was in the terrible and terrifying place of anxiety, she used to come over and just sit on the back porch and tell me stories.
And oh! The stories she told! They wavered and they wandered and they involved people whom I had no idea about and sometimes I would think, "Can this possibly be true?" and finally I realized that there was no reason for me to try and tie the names and places in the stories together and that if the stories weren't true, it was not for me to judge. They were good stories.
And long before I figured out that the stories WERE true, back when I was literally dying of anxiety and panic, those afternoons on the porch, just listening to her voice was so soothing. She didn't try to offer suggestions to help me with my anxiety. She just came over and acted like everything was cool, let's have a beer or a cup of tea, and did I ever tell you about the time I went to see B.B. King and there was a gunfight in the street and...

And her voice just soothed the hell out of me.

And then she brought me chickens. Little baby peeps and next thing you know, I was in love with the soothing voices of hens and the proud crow of roosters and it was like a whole new world had been opened up to me. A world that I had no idea I'd needed. A world I so obviously needed.

One of her former coworkers got up and spoke about her. About how she changed the good-ol'boy situation in the department of agriculture she worked in. How she asked him, not long after she became a supervisor, "SO, Charlie, is it true what they say about black men?"
And he was like, "Oh, god. Here we go." And said, "Yes. We are really good at picking cotton," and they laughed and laughed and became good friends forever. He told about how she refused to leave her home on a tiny spit of land on the Gulf when Hurricane Charley came through because she couldn't take all of her dogs, her chickens, her cats, her a shelter with her.

I cried and I cried. Kathleen was a conundrum. But here's another thing I said about her- if she did something, she did it with all of her heart and all of her energy and all of her love.

And by god, she did.

Bug got up and gave the most beautiful tribute to her that I've ever heard. It was loving, it was funny. It was true.

And after all of the speeches and stories were given and the last video was shown which was of Kathleen roto-tilling her garden and then grinning hugely and waving, May and I spooned out little bags of her ashes to whoever wanted them. And so many did. And we heard the stories of where people were going to place them. Under camellias, in rivers, on beaches. And so forth.

And when everybody who wanted ashes had gotten some, I licked my finger and dipped it into the bag and took that which stuck to it and rubbed my gum with it.

There could not have been a better tribute, a better day.

And there could not be a better friend than Kathleen was. And I got to hold so many people whom I love and who loved Kathleen to me, tight and hard, my arms and hands clasping them to me.

My heart, fitting them into their spaces, adjusting itself to the rearranged furniture within it.
And my eyes, overfilling with what is in my heart.
And it's good.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. So beautiful, you have me crying from here. I'm so sad the world doesn't get Kathleen anymore, but I'm happy she had such a wonderful life with so much love.

  2. It really was a beautiful service. And I think that she would have been very happy with all of it. It was very fitting; the room was just full of love.

  3. Well, from the sound of it, it was an incredible event and Kathleen would surely have approved. I can really feel the love, Mary, and that's from here -- way out here. It must have filled that room to bursting.

  4. She is a beautiful beam of light. You were so lucky to know her.

    I don't want to post a link here on your blog because I don't have permission, but I think the song by Mindy Smith-One Moment More- seems to describe what it was to experience her while she was here. You know she had to go, but you can't help wishing for one more moment.

    A beautiful life so well lived. I am paying attention to it all, soaking it in, and sending you love, love.

  5. It sounds like an amazing memorial. We should all be so loved.

  6. I love that part of her went with everyone who loved her. How wonderfully fitting.

  7. One of those days when you're filled to the brim. So glad it went the way you wished, probably better than you wished.

  8. So beautiful. For Kathleen how could it not be? And now she is everywhere and with everyone and how perfect that is.

  9. Where do my comments go? Mary, Mary, I'm so sorry you lost your good friend.

  10. Beautiful. I KNOW she would have been proud. I'm so glad all the kids were there too.

  11. It was just the perfect service. So much laughter and so many sweet tears. Such joy at being together to celebrate our Kathleen.

  12. NOLA- I'm here to tell you- that woman lived five normal lifetimes. I sure wish she could have stuck around to live about six more.

    Jon- Wasn't it? Oh my god. It was so beautiful.

    Elizabeth- It did! It was full to bursting. You can see all the love just on the faces of our one family.

    Ashley- You said it right! One more moment- but my god, every moment she gave us was simply filled. And love back to you.

    A- My heart just kept overfilling, over and over again.

    Bluesmtn- It was good.

    jenny_o- Well, she put all that love out there. And more.

    ditchingthedog- And what I loved was that people were so eager to take a bit of her with them. Such a testament to her generous spirit- here- take a bit of me home with you. I mean seriously!

    Bella Rum- Better than I ever could have imagined.

    Angella- Exactly. She gave and she gave and in some ways, she will continue to do so. So many ways, to tell you the truth. For example- this morning out pancakes were made a lovely duck egg. And so she nourished us again.

    Jo- We knew the day would come, all of us. And it did and that's the way of it but my god! What a perfect send-off and we were all there for each other and her spirit was there as well.

    SJ- Aunt Kath-a-leen. Owen will remember her.

    Jan- Yes. And now I am tearing up again, just thinking about how perfect it all was.

  13. What a beautiful tribute, Mary Moon. I feel your love for Kathleen and your heartache. xoxoxo

  14. all y'all did a beautiful job making such a sad transition a true celebration of kathleen and her light.
    sending much love and all props,


  15. Denise- I know you know. And then a thousand percent more.

    Mrs. A- Thank you. It was as close to perfect as I can possibly imagine.

  16. No one could ask for a better ending than that.


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  19. It sounds like a wonderful tribute to her life. And what you wrote was filled with love.

  20. I did not know her but I "see" her, on your porch, telling her stories. I can't imagine I will ever forget that. Love, glimmer.


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