Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 17

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 17 – SPECIAL ELISSA WEISS MEMORIAL EDITION

• As some of you may know, my mother Elissa passed away yesterday after a long period of illness. In the evening, I convinced my dad to have dinner out with me, my older sister, her husband and two daughters. While dining, all of the adults, except my father, had a few drinks. To help plan a memorial, my brother in-law took notes and asked questions about my mother. My father remembered meeting my mother and their first few dates back in 1957:

o Dad – “I was hanging out on the corner with my friends in the old neighborhood (President Street in Brooklyn), just watching the girls go by, when I saw Elissa. I told my friends, ‘I’m going to marry that girl someday.’ Soon enough it was Valentine’s Day. I went to Barton’s Candy Store to buy a box of candy for another girl and Elissa was working there. Before I left I asked her out on a date. We started dating and in a few weeks, went to Puerto Rico and got married.”
o Sister – “I always suspected that mom was pregnant with me before you were married.”
o Dad – “Nope. She had an abortion and then we were married. That all happened in Puerto Rico. When we got back, we were also married by a Rabbi in Brooklyn. You were born the next year.”
o Sister – “Lou Weiss, you were a f*cking playa !!!!”
o Me – “Dad, didn’t you tell mom you were only 22, when you were really 27?”
o Dad – “She told ME she was 22, but was really only 17.”
After fifty-seven years, the truth is revealed…

• At dinner, in spite of all sorts of fish and steaks on the menu, my father ordered a hamburger, well done. He barely touched it. Later, he said it was “dry as a bone.” I said “Dad, you did order it well done. What did you expect?” “I didn’t order it any kind of done” he scoffed.

When he got home, he made his regular, full dinner, microwave explosions included. I can hear my mother now: “He still can’t order by himself.”

• Through all the months of my mother’s progressing illnesses, she had a persisting pressure ulcer at the base of her spine. This caused her much pain and sometimes she would literally say, “My ass is killing me!” During her last weeks in hospice care, there was another patient who was a cantankerous old fellow, with a thick New York accent. In spite of the angelic staff, who handled my mother with delicacy and dignity right up until the end, he would say things like “Does anybody speak English around here?” or “Where the hell’s my doctor! You people don’t know anything!” Literally, at the moment where I realized that my mother had stopped breathing, I swear that Mr. Cantankerous himself yelled out “My ass is killing me!” It was almost as if the evil mojo spirit had finally left her body and found the most unpleasant prick in the vicinity to inhabit.

No more pain mom.

© Curt Weiss 2014

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