My goal for the next 94 or so days, is to do a post of a memory of our Aunt Teresa. The significance of the number 94 is that this world was blessed by her for 94 years. It is not only just for me, but to be able to keep her memory alive and her stories told. I am also going to include stories of our family, too. She would want all of us to know the stories. In the words of my favorite author, Carmen Agra Deedy, "those we love are never really gone as long as their stories are told."
I am going to start with my last conversation with her which was Wednesday, June 28, 2017. She had been non-responsive for quite some time but for some reason she opened up her eyes and looked at me when I started to talk to her. It didn't appear to me that she was hearing or comprehending anything I was saying.
I started by telling her that there had been two Governing Board meetings in the last two days. I had just come from one. I told her that both meetings had gone extremely well and how wonderful it was to have that happen. I reminded her about the times in Douglas when I would have a very difficult meeting and sometimes would come home quite upset. She always worried about me, I know that. But she always told me that she didn't know how to do anything to help me other than to pray. So while I was at the meeting, she was sitting in her chair at 858 saying the rosary and her novenas. I was babbling and she was just looking at me with a blank stare. I told her about how she always had her bottle of vodka out and my bottle of gin ready along with the tonic water and the limes. The minute she heard the car pull up, she would go in and get the drinks ready for me. Then she would have to listen to me rant etc. as we had our drinks. She continued to look at me with her very beautiful green eyes as I continued to babble.
Then I asked her if she remembered helping me with my campaign for the Gilbert Governing Board. She was living with us during the campaign and she always wanted to help me. She helped me stuff envelopes and went with me to turn in my signatures. She went to several campaign functions. I believe she was my oldest voter and Cameron was my youngest. I asked her if she remembered voting for me and I must have said it two or three times. She looked at me and in barely a whisper she said, "Yes, I voted for you." Those were the last words I ever heard from her.
Of course, I lost it and I had to walk away. But I know how proud she was of me when I went to Douglas to live with her in 2010 and was the DUSD Superintendent. And although her mind was slipping because of Alzheimer's, she was still proud when I was elected and proud to work on my campaign.
Having had her in my life for over 68 years is something that most people don't ever get and I will forever be grateful for all of those years, but especially the five years we were together in Douglas.
The picture above is from my campaign kick-off held at the Gilbert Historical Museum.
The picture below is her stuffing envelopes for me because she wanted to help me so much.