Friday, October 10, 2008

So it goes...

Diane's mother passed away this morning. She had been in very serious condition for a while and we have been expecting The Call for about a week now. When the phone rang at 4 AM we knew.

Dolores was something else. She could be charming and fun and smart and perky or she could be, I don't know, contrary. She had a fierce desire to be independent, even when there was no way that was possible. Maybe especially when she knew it wasn't possible.

She was my first (and only) mother-in-law. For the most part, we got along fine. For my first Christmas with Diane she got me a library card (I still have no idea how she was able to convince them to give it to her without me needing to sign something) and a marriage license application. See, Diane was a little bit pregnant and we were a little bit not actually married. (Since you are probably dying to know, we were married almost three months before Dani was born. It drove Dolores crazy. I should not have enjoyed that.)

She was a huge Dave Barry fan, and one time I mentioned that I thought I had heard that Dave was in some sort of rock band or other. A couple of weeks later she gave me postcard, hand written by Dave himself, that answered a request she had sent him. She was really good at thinking to do that sort of thing - a bit outside the box.

I broke her heart a year and a half after Dani was born by talking Diane into moving from Rockville Maryland to Redwood City California. At the time, I couldn't really see why this was so hard on her. But now when I think of what it would be like to have Dani, Ryan, and the grandkids move that far away - I can see how devastating that could be.

She made several visits to see us, and for one stretch after Diane's father, Buddy, died about 16 years ago, she even moved out here and lived with us. She never liked it here though - it wasn't even vaguely home - and she decided to move back east. She was determined to drive herself all the way across the country. I could see why this appealed to her, but it was also obvious that she was not really up to it. There was no chance of talking her out of it though, so she set off. I don't remember how far she got that first day - maybe a hundred miles - but that was as far as she drove. She sold the car, bought a plane ticket, and flew back east.

She spent some time back in Maryland, then moved in with her brother in Florida, and finally ended up in Arkansas where her son John lives. I have written about a trip we took in 2006, with the grandkids and their parents, to see them there.

Her health had been bad for some time now. You hope that magically she will turn it around, but too many years of unhealthy living had taken a fatal toll on her body. There is a certain amount of closure and relief now, I guess. But it's still not easy.

John has been dealing with all the arrangements in Arkansas, and Dawn (Diane's sister who still lives in Maryland) is now busy making arrangements to have her buried alongside Buddy in Arlington Cemetery - yes, THAT Arlington Cemetery since Buddy was a WWII vet. These sorts of things take time though, so an official service won't be for a while.

Dolores did get to meet both grandkids and Ryan, so Darci knew who we were talking about this morning. A peculiar thought that had not occurred to me until I heard Dawn and Diane talking about it - the two of them, along with John, are now orphans. Now that's a bit of a depressing thought.

That's it - move along...


DAK said...

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of this wonderful lady. What great stories! A wedding license for Christmas? Selling the car 100 miles East of town and flying home? What a gal she must have been.

So the Dawn, I mean nwaD, we hear about from time to time is your Sister-in-NotThat! I'm catching on.

Please give an extra hug to Ms. That tonight. That orphan business is pretty darned final-feeling.

mary ann said...

Beautiful post, Notthat. Please give my condolences to Mrs. Notthat. I love those photos from the 40's, she was a lovely woman.

Glenn said...

I only met Dolores once, after she had moved to assited living in Arkansas...Unexpectedly she always remembered my name after that. She wasn't overly fond of nawD's 1st husband but she seemed to like me which I'm glad of.

Once when I was teasing nawD about not remembering the the names of the river through Hades. (Styx)
She called her Mom to find out, Dolores said " Ask him if he knows the name of the Boatman who crosses that river". I didn't. Now, I will never forget Charron's name...thanks for that Dolores...

notthatlucas said...

glenn/nnelg - She really did seem to know a lot of odds and ends (Dolores, not Nawd). I wish she had taken some time to write a memoir of sorts - I suspect it would have been very interesting. Nawd too.