03 September 2007

labor day weekend

a memory I will never forget. labor day 1997.

I had just purchased, completely on my own, a 1-bedroom (post war 1960's ugly white brick) co-op apartment in manhattan. it was on the cusp of beautiful gramercy park -- but no man's land actually. it had a doorman. it had private outdoor space. it was all mine!

my mom came down to visit. our relationship had been "strained" for a few months because she had openly (and painfully) disapproved of my long term boyfriend at the time. he and I were planning on spending our lives together and it was common knowledge that my family was not thrilled. these were challenged times.

she loved my choice... in apartments. I could tell she was very proud of me. yes, the space needed work and some fine tuning but it was all good. nyc on labor day weekend is a ghost town. we totally took advantage of the empty streets. proper straight-up gin martinis and polenta at the union square cafe bar. late afternoon movies at the angelica film center. shopping on lower 5th ave. we had a fantastic time. she loved NY. she had the jackie O sunglasses and hermes scarf. she fit right in.

I remember hailing her a cab back to la guardia airport early tuesday morning before heading off to work. I was unhappy to see her go and she was visibly sad as well. we promised to go to the us open next labor day to see some great tennis. flushing ny is just a few subway stops away.

my mom landed safely in boston and got home to maine uneventfully.

then came the call. I remember exact details like it was yesterday. what I was wearing -- a brown suit and light blue shirt. the weather -- cloudy and very muggy. the meeting -- seagrams building, midtown manhattan. she had had a major seizure back at home and was hospitalized at mass general hospital with a glioblastoma brain tumor. cancer. how could this be?! she had conquered ovarian cancer some years before. she had already suffered through the surgeries and all the horrific treatments. how could this be?! her life, our lives, changed forever that day. never to be the same.

labor day weekend 1997. what an amazing time we had. that was the last time I saw mum healthy and well. I will forever cherish this memory.

3 comments:

Fertilize Me said...

excellent tribute!

Trish said...

how bittersweet..

To your mother..

Diana said...

You just gave me chills. I am so glad you have such a wonderful memory of her and that you were able to spend that precious weekend with her.