Monday, May 25, 2009

She Was Here

(The Lady of the House, Pierce Avenue)

We departed Saturday. After a long week of packing, a group of my guy friends arrived to load the moving truck so Chris and I could hit the road in the afternoon. I had little time to dwell on leaving though. A few days earlier, my friend and surrogate Oxford mother Elaine passed away unexpectedly. Her funeral services were Saturday morning.

Whenever I would leave Oxford, I always made it a point to say goodbye to Elaine at the local bookstore where she worked. We'd hug and I'd mischievously wave goodbye. Upon my return, I would visit her again to dish on my adventures while we shared a cup of coffee and she smoked a cigarette. She encouraged me and listened -- never judging -- as I told her the stories that might make my "real" mom cringe.

At the visitation services on Saturday, there were cards imprinted with an image of Elaine along with brief paragraph about her life. Elaine was homemaker it read (in addition to working part-time at Square Books). Despite the fact that she was well on her way to completing a Ph. D. in History when she met her husband more than thirty years ago, she gave herself to being a wife and mother. Above all else she loved her husband and children. "Homemaking" was her calling.

Home was an important part of Elaine's life. It was a haven for when her children returned to Oxford, a place of gathering, and for hiding from the world. It was filled with the past: photographs, knick-nacks, and other things handmade by Elaine or her children. With her passing, home takes on another meaning to me. It is a memorial to our existence that quietly proclaims, "I was here."

(In Memoriam Elaine Cremaldi)

1 comment:

CookinsForMe said...

How lovely. It sounds as though you'll miss her but what a blessing to have known such a woman.