Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Original Universe

You can't know how much you've got 'til it's gone - parents, certain jobs, skin elasticity and muscle tone, home. Trite perhaps, but true. 

Eleanor Josaitis - my original universe; the portal through which I traveled with four others, has been gone for two years now this weekend.  She lived and died in the city that she served -  Detroit. My mom used to tell me that she planned on living to be 100 years-old. She had a certain way of flipping the middle finger at conventional expectations – in a nice, Catholic girl kind-of way, you have to understand.

In reality, cancer took her from us at the age 79 and the irony of such an “early death” would not be lost on her because she would be the first to say, “Well, Jay, Man plans, God laughs.”

God, I miss her.
She always gave God the glory. Always! She urged her children to heed that gesture, as well. I believe that we all have, if not exactly in her fashion. Ever since she was a teensy kid she pledged allegiance to Jesus and his rag-tag band of radicals who also, according to the centuries-old stories, flipped the bird at convention by defying the Powers That Be.

As an adult, she helped lift up the lowly because, she believed they deserved to enter the Kingdom of God despite the Gatekeeper’s insistence that one should be just right; just tight; just white. That was her story and she stuck to it.  That’s more than I can say for a lot of God-fearing folks who bloody their knees for the pageantry of it all.

I think my mother would’ve been a great nun had she not fallen in with the boy down the street who built model airplanes for fun and liked gadgetry. Marrying him was the more reasonable thing to do in the 1950s. It made more sense than crouching inside the hallowed-fortress of her God trying to be more worthy than she already was. Thank the Catholic Church for that nagging feeling of unworthiness, I say bitterly to myself sometimes.

But, Mother Church taught my own mother a great lesson in duty. She passed that on to most who knew her. My mother was dutiful among all other things. That duty earned her a husband for life; five healthy children; a galaxy of friends; a beautiful home; an awesome career with a certified Man of the Cloth and the chance to serve her Creator. What more could a girl ask for in this crazy, mixed-up universe?

Mom, Original Universe, you’re never gone from me. Thanks for all the love and lessons.