I am still flying high, both figuratively and literally. I am on an airplane on my way to Chicago as I write this and I am still so elated from last night's memorial party for my Mom(I absolutely refuse to call her my step-mother any longer - she never liked that title anyway - more on that in a bit), the dearly departed Margaret Regan. I want to capture some of my emotions and thoughts before they wear off or I forget.
My brothers set up an absolutely lovely spread at this hall http://www.magyarhaz.org - right next door to the apartment she inhabited for 35+ years and still occupied by brother Gary and used as a way station by younger brother Pedro. I provided a slide show of 360 pictures culled from almost 1000 that Gary provided me over the past several weeks. OS X and iPhoto were instrumental in creating a beautiful presentation that had everyone calling me a wizard. I'll take the accolades this time but I also have to thank my director,Eric Tidwell, for the loan of a key piece of equipment - the projector.
I was absolutely amazed at the turnout! My mom was well-known around the neighborhood and she was the most authentic New Yorker you ever met. She lived an amazing life and affected so many people, many of whom came to pay their respects and party as was her wish.
Gary was the first to speak and read an absolutely beautiful poem by an obscure poet (Robert Hughes?) - he was so eloquent and emotional at the same time and told a few heart-warming stories that had everyone laughing and I'll share the best one with you, the story of his father's courtship of her and it goes something like this:
Angel, Gary's father saw Margaret walking on a bridge(need the name supplied by Gary) in Mexico City and stopped her by getting down on hand and knee saying that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and he wanted to marry her and spend his life with her, to which she replied "Get in line buster!". Several months, maybe a year passed and he eventually won her heart when he serenaded her like a Mariachi with 2 songs(again, I need the names) that Gary then had me play on the sound system as interpreted by Charles Aznavour. He brought the house down with that and then it was Pedro's turn.
Pedro was also amazing as he related how difficult it was to lose his mother, his best friend, his confidante, his number one supporter and teammate. He spoke of their travels together to Ireland and other countries around the world. He really drove home how much she would be missed.
Then it was my turn and I kept it short and preached her message of love (I can do that because I'm a minister - but I didn't pull that card last night). The essence of my message was this:
It is unfortunate that in today's age of ubiquitous communication (it seems like we're constantly tethered sometimes, doesn't it?) that the only events that can bring us together are weddings and funerals and that those may be the only times we actually communicate. The death of my father, Anton, brought me the closest I'd been to Margaret in many years. We had a falling out and his unfortunate and untimely death in 2000, along with the introduction of my beautiful wife (then fiance), Shannon, whom she absolutely adored were catalysts for staying in touch and healing our rift. What I believe Margaret would want, is for us to stay in touch a little more often than we do and I hope the one thing you take away from this evening is the commitment to stay in touch with each other more regularly and keep your love strong.
I did want to say something else but I forgot so I'll post it here:
Margaret is a being of light and love. She had the biggest heart and was a Mom to so many strays of several species, mostly dogs and humans though. Don't get me wrong, as her sister told me last night, if she didn't like you, you could worship at her feet for eternity and it wouldn't matter, she would not deign to bother with you. But that's not the point, the point is this: No matter how many times she got burned by people, she always maintained that capacity for love and was not cynical - at least in that regard. She trusted in the human soul and was well-rewarded with friends and family that love and miss her very much.
note: I will be editing this blog with updated information and photos from the slideshow when I return from my business trip later this week.