While Mother and Husband Number Three Tom were living in Indiana, I received a phone call from her to let me know that her brother-in-law had passed away. Mother and Tom were headed to Chicago for the funeral. I felt compelled to make the trip as well. My sister wisely refused to accompany me to the funeral saying,
You know how crazy it will be.
So I set off alone to meet everyone in Chicago. Luckily, my step-sister Sissy was at the time living in a suburb of Chicago, so I had a nice place to stay. And my time with Mother, Tom, and various other distant family members could therefore be limited.
At the funeral, Mother told people who her husband was by clicking her teeth, winking, pointing at Tom and saying quite loudly:
That handsome guy in the second row is my husband.
She did this to anyone who approached her. She also sat in the front row and attempted to comfort my Aunt Marty (who after all was her sister) while I sat with some of the aforementioned distant relatives. However, I was still going to be responsible for getting Mother and Tom to the after funeral luncheon.
On the way there, she told me how great her sense of direction was. While doing so, she directed me in totally the wrong direction. We were headed the exact opposite direction of the luncheon. In Chicago. During rush hour. Mother would periodically announce that she was pretty sure an immediate left would get us there. Then a right. Then back to the left…where we found ourselves back near the funeral home, rather than the location of the luncheon.
When I jokingly mentioned something about not seeing her great sense of direction, she yelled at me:
I will never speak to you again so long as we both live.
I was hesitant about going in. What if Mother carried through with her threat? When I finally talked myself into opening the door, I saw her brother Uncle Bob. He took one look at me and asked what was wrong. I told him:
My mother is mad at me and says she will never speak to me again.
He smiled and just replied:
So, what else is new?
not at all surprised to hear that his sister was mad at her daughter. Although it had been about a year since I had seen Mother, we did not speak the rest of that day and I returned home without saying goodbye to her. She did know how to hold a grudge.