Oh my god, mommy…. you’ve been dead now for seven and a half weeks. How can that be?
I don’t know where to begin. I guess most important stuff first.
You won’t believe this, daddy died one month to the day after you did. One month to the day. An odd coincidence considering you were divorced for fifty-six years.
You died on the sixth of August. He died on the sixth of September.
I wasn’t adjusted to you being gone and then he was gone too.
We won’t call this one the summer of my life that is for sure.
I got to see him literally the day of the night he died. He was in a place. It’s complicated and if you run into him, I’m sure he will tell you all about it. Maybe he has. Maybe you know.
He was at peace and he was well cared for. I don’t know how to even describe what it’s like to watch both your parents go in a four week period.
I will give him the calm departure award. You get the most hysterical award for a person “transitioning” as Hospice, my new best friends like to call it.
He was like a little boy, in a baby blue t-shirt. And he was so calm and peaceful. He just went to sleep.
You were more like a demonic toddler who did not want to take a nap.
But I was with you until the end. OK, almost the end. Taylor and I left at ten pm…You had been I can’t even describe it, but it was a lot to watch. And that went on for 36 hours. It was like reverse protracted labor.
At one point I found your birth certificate and it said you were born at eleven am. So, I decided that would be the hour you would depart. Now why I thought that I have no idea. You were never one to keep to a tight schedule.
I was very off in my prediction. An hour after we left to get some sleep, Veronica called and said you were gone.
Many people have told me that is common. You waited for me to leave.
So, I was an hour off. Hospice was more off; they did not come until the next morning. So, your actual time of death and your recorded time of death are not in sync.
But they were wonderful, and I am not trashing them. It’s just the girl who had to come over had locked the keys in her car.
I guess it happens to everyone, even Hospice workers.
I refused to be there when they took you away. I just totally lost it at the thought of that. I figured you wouldn’t know, and you would totally understand.
But since that day, I have done everything right to the letter.
I think you would be proud of me. Especially since I had to deal with dad’s death four weeks later.
I kind of fell in love with you as I went through your things. I wanted you to come back and I wanted you to know that yes, I thought you were messy, but I didn’t not like your things. You were so talented in so many ways. And your apartment and belongings are a testament to that. And your files. OMG, your fascination with everything was so intense. You were so alert to the world around you.
And you were so wrong about the mold, but we won’t go there.
I have gone through everything. I didn’t just throw out your life as you thought I would.
And I kept Veronica on. She is still there, and I could not have done anything without her. Sometimes we cry together. And Taylor has been amazing. The kid has filled four file boxes and they are all labeled and sub-categorized.
Your collection…you are having a big sale. The Beverley Jackson Auction.
I know we discussed the rank badges and shoes going to Christies or Sotheby’s. But they would not take anything else.
And that was not a good idea. I wanted your life, your taste, the all of you – not to be sold, sounds so crass, but to be properly presented and auctioned off.
So, I went with Kaminski. I know you sold wine with him and he has done sales for Oprah and Martha Stewart.
I figured if he was good enough for them…
So, the day before he came over Taylor, Veronica and I spent a whole day setting up the house. We displayed all your things and put your photos up and around and we totally staged it. The world of Bev.
And he took everything. The Opium bed and the whole dining room set up, they dismantled, and it will be auctioned off. Your clothes, the ones you designed. All your various collections.
The sale will take place at the end of November, which is ironic as it’s your birthday. There will be The Beverley Jackson Collection Sale.
And they are located in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Your doll collection went to the doll museum on Chapala Street. Veronica and Alma packed them all up and took them down for me.
They knew how your dolls creeped me out. We got a tax write off.
We gave a lot of the kitchen stuff to the gardeners around the property as they need the money and they either use it or have sales on the weekend.
I sold the condo. Will tell you to whom in a few weeks. But it made sense and I kind of had to. It was yours, as many times as I mulled it over in my head, I could never make it mine. And that woman downstairs, the one you complained about: Have we all yelled at her. I mean, example, on Saturday, I was getting the bed taken apart so it can be shipped to Ralph.
We worked the whole thing out and Gerald gave me the name of a welder. I wanted to do it right. Turns out it was put together with screws.
It worked out as Daddy was buried last Friday, so Saturday morning I met the welder to take apart the bed and all he needed was a wooden mallet.
One little thud and Maxine was up there bitching. We open the door she complains. I don’ t know how you lived like that.
She said you can’t do this on a Saturday. I said, “what use a hammer. Get lost.”
She is a total pain in the ass.
I like writing this, it feels like I am talking to you.
Yesterday was your office. I went through every file. That is a blog in itself. The IM Pei letter was my favorite and I can so see you standing outside his uncles’ room in Shanghai with a Bellman and a bonsai. There is no one you would not write to.
It’s too bad kids don’t see the value in their parents when they’re alive. I think we are so desperate for you to see the value in us. And you wanted me to appreciate your uniqueness in ways I just couldn’t, I wanted you to be Mrs. Stoltze, until I see your closet and your files and your amazing letters and every travel folder you kept from every trip.
If you were here, I would maybe teach you the word wastebasket
Yesterday was quite hard. A lot of things are hard. I miss you a lot when I take a bath as every night. I used to call you when I got in the tub. And I would sit in my wonderful apartment and look out over Madison Avenue and chat with you.
Now NYC is a wreck. You’re gone. Daddy is gone.
I don’t know the world I now live in, one weird, sad day melts into another.
Don’t even get me started on what is happening in the country. You might just be glad you left. In fact, you actually left at a swell time. 1928 – 2020 – good timing mom.
Anyway, yesterday Taylor and I were there with Veronica doing your office and they called from Cox Cable. I told them you had died. They wanted payment. But the guy was really nice, and he said he was in the neighborhood and could come pick up the cable boxes and the modem.
So, we got them all together and he collected them.
And as I came back in the room, the lights on your phone went out.
I just stopped and stared at it. I told Tay to pick it up and see if it there was a ringtone.
She said it was dead. And I just broke down.
You were at the other end of 969-3341 for pretty much my whole life. It was my number for at least five years too. And it was gone. It brought it all home in the most final of ways.
It comes and goes – grief. I know that from others. But it’s different with you.
I have gotten very used to calling up and saying, “I am Tracey Jackson, my mother Beverley died and then I have to cancel her…….”
But then when 969-3341 disappeared that was close to having to watch them take you out of the building.
I guess to end this on a cheery note, if there is such a thing as a cheery note these days, your memorials went off as well as they could in these times.
Your Mission thing was very tiny, Veronica, Taylor and me. Father Larry was there officiating. It was very simple and then we took your little gold box of you and they put you in the Mausoleum. OK, that was up there with the end of 969-3341.
But I stuck it out and said good-bye as they closed the drawer in that long dark marble room.
But the next night we had fourteen of your good friends at the beach. And you will love this, I took some of your ashes, I made Welch Rice give me some. And I put a little bit in small plastic bags, then I put those bags in the baskets you made.
Everyone got a basket with a bit of you in it and they each went to the beach on their own and threw some of you in the sea and said good-bye. As we were doing it two dolphins swam by and jumped out of the water. We all took that as a sign. Everyone got to take home their baskets. I thought you would like that. It was as joyful as a good-bye could be.
Perhaps you are not a bird, but a dolphin.
I will always have to live near the beach if I want to see you.
Every time I finish a task, I know you will be proud. I am doing things just as you would want me to do.
And as my new buddy, thanks to you, Ralph Rucci said to me the other day – “Always be impeccable, in every way.”
I will continue to try and do that. Know that I miss you. I didn’t think I would miss you as much as I do as you drove me so nuts for so much of my life.
But you were a one of a kind.
If you see daddy say hi. Tell him all his girls are getting along now. Life does go on. But it’s not the same.