“She was done living. I know that for a fact.”—Mr. Joe, Chapter 43, “One Loving Smile”
Today would have been my mother’s ninety-fourth birthday. Mom passed away in late March, 2008, at eighty-nine. Joe says she told him several times that she didn’t want to reach age ninety.
Mom had been living at the Alois Alzheimer Center in Cincinnati. If you wonder, as I did, where “Alois” comes from, it was Dr. Alzheimer’s first name--short for Aloysius. Mom spent the last seven months of her life there, among people who loved her.
More of Mom’s story will be told in Mr. Joe, my brother’s memoir, and Chapter 43 is the sweetest chapter about the two of them. I can say this because all I did was put Joe’s story down on “paper”; it isn’t like bragging on oneself.
Co-authoring Mr. Joe gave us both a wild ride through our childhood, and the road down memory lane was bumpy. That can happen when you revisit the past. It happens when you write this kind of book.
Mom had her troubles when we were growing up, which translated to trouble for us. If you read It Started with Dracula: The Count, My Mother, and Me, you know that she drank. Joe and I were afraid of her for many years, but Mom turned her life around. She quit drinking and later moved to Cincinnati to be near us and our families. That road was bumpy, too, and short compared to a lifetime, but it gave us all a second chance. I miss her.
One thing our mom always had was a great sense of humor. At ninety-four, she might just be a hoot. Happy birthday, Mom!