My Mom died this morning. I was in the middle of cross country practice when I got the news. I stood stunned, then finished the workout before wandering around in a weepy daze. Rosemary Hope Fitzgerald Dugard would have been 84 on August 1. Mother of five, married for 58 years; TWA flight attendant, Mass General nurse, Wing Commander's wife.
For some reason, I thought to play Darkness on the Edge of Town when I got into the car. Springsteen's album about the tense relationship between himself and his father has always been my favorite, and the time just seemed right to play it loud. For the first time ever, I realized that Darkness speaks to me because it talks about rage. Nothing but pure unadulterated fury, which is the fuel that drove me for so many years — and so many therapy sessions.
Springsteen was singing about the many fights he had with his father, but it could just as well have been written about me and my mom. She was a complicated, heart-on-her-sleeve dynamo who had a very distant relationship with the term "diplomacy." We fought often.
It is from my Dad that I get my sense of adventure, yet it is the “Rose Parade,” as my sister Monique nicknamed my Mom, who instilled in me the many traits that make me who I am: passion, a fondness for books and trivia, an appreciation for roses, deeply respectful of women (particularly strong women), quick with a joke, deeply self-critical to the point of self-loathing, and yes, lying beneath it all a raw fury that motivates my every waking minute. I can do anything because there are people in my life who love me and believe in me — and the first of these was my Mom. She cheered my cross country races (sometimes even running alongside me), stayed up all night making my amazing tin man costume for a third grade school assembly, and showed me that love is action, not just words.
There's so much more I could say. So much. The grieving process awaits as the layers of loss reveal themselves over time. But I needed to write this now, while it's immediate.
So much more to say.