Friday, February 14, 2014

The One That Almost Wasn't

This should have been a home run week in the restaurant world. Valentine's Day fell on a Friday so we had a whole week to reap the benefits. Then Mother Nature dumped a bunch of snow and ice on Wednesday and the whole city came to a stand still. Most all businesses closed early on Tuesday with the impending storm and Wednesday was a total washout, no one opened. Thursday we lost half a day until the ice melted and only had Thursday night to play catch up. It worked out fine for me, I was scheduled off Wednesday and Thursday but business owners took a huge hit.

I went in today and noon and hit the ground running. I didn't slow down once til I clocked out at midnight. I got extremely lucky. I had several regulars who always tip me well and my section was four tables, all two tops. Most all parties are just couples on Valentine's Day and I got my butt thoroughly beat but well compensated.  Two crappy tips but all the others were excellent.

I got a message on my phone from my daughter around two to call her so stepped outside during a short lull and called her back. She told me one of my besties from high school had just lost her dad.
The above is a photo of my own Momma on the left and my bestie's mom on the right. This was the last photo ever taken of my mother, she died two days later. They were waiting on a bench at cheer leading camp to bring us girls home.

My friend's mom was divorced. I knew her dad, he was still around town but  was nothing like her mom, they were polar opposites. Of course Tim and I are too so maybe there's something to be said for that.

My friend lost her mom a couple of years back after a horrible battle with Alzheimers. My friend and her mom were best friends, always had been. She was a stylish woman, hair always coiffed perfectly with outfits accessorized and flawless makeup.

Her dad was just a crusty ole fart, always was and don't think she'd mind me saying that. He was kind of like the Grinch who stole Christmas but never lived til Christmas morning when the whole concept of happiness occurred to him and made him change his ways.

Regardless of that, I know he loved his kids and know without hesitation he regretted losing his wife to a divorce years ago. I spoke with him at his ex wife's funeral and that was very apparent to me.

So unlike me, who used to think was short changed by losing both my parents early; my friend had to live with watching her mother and best friend turn into a person who didn't even know what day it was or if it was even day or night for that matter. THAT is being short changed.

After her dear sweet mother died, her crusty ole dad continued on his grumpy way. I've known my friend for over thirty five years and her dad as well. She loved him of course, he was her father and had done some good things for her through the years. He wasn't there for them a lot of the time when they were younger but was there for them when they needed him. That says a lot about a person. No one is perfect, none of us are but many people have a parent who is never there or even wants to be and spend their lives wondering why?

Seems ironic but just this past Tuesday, my friend came into the restaurant where I work with some co workers for a business luncheon. I spoke with her and she told me Ole Crusty had taken a fall and was in rehab at the same facility her dear mother had been in when suffering from Alzheimer's. The nurses at the facility had called her mom "Miss America" because she might not have known what day or year it was but always had that hair and makeup done to perfection. I'm not sure what they called her dad.

My sister actually went by to visit her mother before she died one day in the facility when checking on a member of her own church.  She said my friend's mother seemed out of sorts and wasn't sure if she even knew who she was. She sat by her bed and held her hand. She told her she was Kelly's sister (although this woman had known my sister longer than she had known me) and said "Your daughter Denise was best friends with my younger sister." She said a slight smile crept over the older woman's face as she slowly shook her head and simply said  "Oh...Denise and Kelly."

In a lucid moment she had remembered our antics and knew what my sister was talking about.

So Ole Crusty was there now rehabilitating from his fall and didn't like it one bit. My friend said he was not happy and not being very polite to the staff.

Here's my theory. Who WANTS to be in a nursing home even if it is the best one? Who WANTS to end up there and still have the ability to know where they are and can most probably guess the odds of them going home again are pretty stinking slim?

Not Ole Crusty.

My friend left that day and I told her to let me know if I could help her. In hindsight, I was so lucky. Both my parents died quickly. It was devastating for us  at the time but what a blessing for them both.

So today at work I get a text from my daughter, who adores my friend as much as I do. She told me Ole Crusty had died.

I took a moment out of my busy shift, went into the restroom and prayed not only for Ole Crusty but for my dear friend and her two brothers.

I say good for Ole Crusty. If you gotta go...GO! Who wants to hang around long enough to end up on a gurney in the hallway of a nursing home drooling from the mouth?

He went out just like I want to....quickly.

God's first name is Compassion. I'm sure He took everything into consideration. What Ole Crusty had done and what he hadn't done. What he should have done but what he DID do. Some people (like me) wear their heart on their sleeve, other people keep it guarded and regret it too late.

Ole Crusty is gone on to his reward now. I can just see my Momma and my friend's mother standing at the Pearly Gates wagging their fingers at him and immediately assigning him to either KP duty or sweeping up all the Angel feathers littering the golden path.

I'm just glad he didn't linger long in the nursing home. That's no way to go, for anybody.

I'm sad for my friend and her family, loss is a horrible thing to deal with. Been there, done that. I'm relieved that he didn't linger too long and it is finished.

My last thoughts for him are "Good luck with Frances and Ann (my friend's mom and my  mom) up there. They'll have your wings whipped (or clipped) into shape in no time!

Every one is born and every one must die. It's a fact no one can escape. The way you have to go is the thing that matters.

Ole Crusty got lucky, it's just us left here who suffer the grief.

Boy, Heaven must be bigger than Facebook or Twitter by now by the number of loved ones who have joined their ranks. Must be a pretty big place and hope I'm lucky enough to knocking on those gates one day.

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