The so-called Irish temperament is a mixture of flaming ego, hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines through adversity. An irrepressible buoyancy, a vivacious spirit, a kindliness and tolerance for the common frailties of man and a feeling that 'it is time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him.'
Wittke could have written this about my mom it so perfectly describes her. My mom aka Mc Gurk was fiercely proud of her Irish heritage. I grew up filled with the same sense of pride. The kind of honor that didn't need to be displayed by wearing green or eating corned beef and soda bread (although we did), but the dignity that lives within my heart. I was gob smacked that T. Bone went up to change into something green when he realized the significance of the day. He didn't have a single stitch of green anything. Miss Bit had to wear an old Kiss Me I'm Irish shirt of mine. Not exactly what a 9 year old wants to walk around sporting all day, but she did. I couldn't find my mom's prized O'Shit button this year. I wasn't prepared. I was off my game. I was missing my mom and wishing the day away.
When I stood at the parade on Saturday, I was grateful for the sun. My sunglasses disguised more than one tear that welled up and over at a thought, a memory, a reflection. I've been feeling more than a little sorry for myself and at the same time lucky. Loss, love and life are full of such humbling complexity and juxtaposition. Last night I pulled out a photo album I made my mom for her 50th birthday. It's filled with 5 decades of pictures that capture her incredible spirit and remind me of the importance of living everyday. She did. She rose, she smiled, she persevered no matter the circumstances. I'm lucky to have had such a presence in my life even though I'll always feel her life was too short...even though I'll spend the rest of my life missing her and especially on this day.