I want to talk to you all about a woman.R.I.P.
She wasn't a great beauty, but she was pretty. Long dark hair that was black unless you looked at it in the sun to find it was really dark brown. For the purposes of dyeing out the grey that sometimes cropped up, however...her hair was black. She had amber eyes, and when she was young she had a lovely figure. Even as the years wore on, and the birth of two children caused her figure to expand and droop with gravity and that bit of fast food or chocolate we all ought not to eat, she wore it well. Even at her worst, she was pretty.
This woman was smart, too...she had to drop out of high school to take care of her sick mother, but she got her GED later on, and became a pharmacy technician. In her spare time, she was a writer...her imagination was a fertile place, and her pen was a formidable weapon to contend with. She wrote letters...lots of them, and considered it a lost art. Many of the most important things she ever had to say were in notes, letters, and brief words jotted down in random places that would later be treasured objects to those she loved.
She was formidable...a force to be reckoned with. Face to face with people, she wasn't very comfortable...in a store, she'd make her husband go and do her talking if she needed something. Put her on the phone, however...and God help you if she was calling to make you the target of her anger. She was kind and had a positive outlook...a way of making bad things better. Money was always tight, but she usually had a small stash of mad money at her disposal, thanks to a little wise saving. That money went for a few personal pleasures, but also to her children...secret gifts to her daughter of books the family couldn't afford to buy. It was their shared passion, reading...more than a passion, an addiction that this woman passed on to her little girl.
She was a woman of God...a staunch Catholic that brought her children up in the faith...even brought her Jewish husband to the fold, marrying him twice, once by law and once again later on in the church, on the same day he was baptized, confirmed, and recieved his first communion. To date, it's still a record in their parish for most sacraments recieved in a single day. Even when God tried to take everything from her, she kept her faith...in the face of imminent death, it only seemed to grow.
Virtuous though she was, this woman was not perfect. She was quick tempered and spiteful when angry...she liked the taste of wine, had a glass on many nights. Alcoholism ran in her family, and a weaker woman would have been driven to excess. Still, she courted disaster with her favorite white zinfandel in the refrigerator every night. She was stubborn, sometimes harsh, and was ferocious about holding grudges. Her marriage was volatile and a job in and of itself to maintain...but she was lucky that while difficult, it was a marriage filled with love.
She touched a lot of lives by the time she turned forty four...she was loved, hated, appreciated and respected, but above all she was remembered by all that crossed her path.
But a trip to the mountains during the Thanksgiving holidays would change her life forever...because it was the last thing she'd remember for a very long time.
A year after tripping on a snowy driveway and landing on her butt, she was home with her family again...fifteen pounds lighter and on ten different medications. Her long dark hair that she was so proud of was gone, a victim of brain surgery and radiation therapy to eradicate the remains of a tumor that nearly killed her. In its place was a mowhawk, one that left her surgical scar exposed. She didn't bother with scarves or wigs...she enjoyed shocking people. It was just in her nature.
By the time another year was out, she'd lost still more weight...could've clocked in at just a little over one hundred pounds as she lay in a hospital bed, the left side of her body paralyzed by the tumor that had returned with a vengeance. The mowhawk had grown a bit, but was peppered with grey that was left unchecked.
She couldn't even talk, but still her eyes were bright and aware, darting around as she struggled to move...as she fought to live.
This woman's name was Waynette Maria McKnight Carlie...but she always wanted to change it to Anette. No one could ever get her name right...that's what happens when people associate your name with Tammy Wynette and Carlee Simon...more than once, she had records of hers filed under W instead of C where they belonged.
This woman was a normal person, just like you and me...flawed, but virtuous, with strength and character. Her writing was never published, but many people knew her name. She wasn't famous, but over half a church was filled at her memorial mass. Waynette believed in life, not death...wouldn't even let her children attend a wake or an open casket funeral. When she herself died, her last wish was to avoid her own funeral. There was no casket at the church, no graveside service. There was only a mass...a celebration of her faith, and a reception...a gathering of those who knew her in a celebration of her life.
This woman was a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker, a sister. She was *my* mother...my best friend.
Forgive me for this long entry, just this once, but I won't put it behind a cut...it's midnight, December 24...the anniversary of the day she died, a victim of cancer. I want everyone to see this, everyone to read...I want everyone to know her.
No one's ever dead as long as they're remembered...and today, ten years after her passing, I want my mother to live again.
Waynette Maria McKnight Carlie
Love you, miss you...never gonna forget you.