Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Birthday to the woman who wore peach nail polish

...slightly faded peach nail polish on both hands...

That is what the autopsy report read. It came last week. Finally. After 11 years. I wept, and the heaviness of grief took hold of my throat.

I remember her peach nail polish. She loved peach. I hated it.  She loved fur coats. I detested them. She ate meat for every meal. I became a vegetarian at age 7.  She loved fine dining and elegant ballroom gowns. I loved eating veggie burgers at hippie joints and wore mostly white tanks and torn jeans.  She kept an impeccably clean home. My children's toys were impossible to keep in the toy box and I adored their crayon-drawn photos of "me and mommy" on my walls.  She felt breasts were not for public consumption, and all my babies had anytime-access to my breasts for years after birth.

We could not possibly have been more different.

Today is my dead mother's birthday.

She died far too young, far too suddenly, and far too traumatically. I watched them resuscitating her in the emergency room at my favorite hospital in town. Slow motioned chaos, confusion, fear, desperation. I wasn't ready for her to die yet. We had to come to an agreement, first, on our many disagreements. It was Halloween night.

For four long days, she lived on machines, tubes delivering her means of survival.  Until we said no more.

There is a time in all our lives when we realize that this very moment in which we exist is a game-changer. I would never get to tell her that I was sorry we didn't understand each other in the way a mother and daughter should. She would never get to tell me how proud she felt seeing me graduate, the first in our family to complete college and go on to graduate studies to eventually become "Dr. Cacciatore."  I wonder, often, what she'd have thought of that.  We never had a chance to agree to disagree about eating animals, and feeding the poor, and breastfeeding, and fur coats.

I love and miss my beautiful mother very much.  With all our differences and disagreements and frustrations, I love and miss her. I hope she is with Chey, wherever that is... I hope.

And oh, the things I would do and say now if only I could...

Josephine Cacciatore- Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. I love you with all my heart and I miss you and my children miss you too.  I wish you could've seen them grow up.

I wish you could've seen me grow up too.

Your daughter,


The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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