Posts Tagged ‘cape cod’

When I visit Rhode Island it’s usually for the summer and a haircut/coloring always ends up being a thing. To be honest the thing is actually coloring more than the cut.

I always call the East Side stylist, M., who I’ve known for more than thirty years. I’ll just call her M. since I view going to a trusted salon and swapping life experiences as sort of a sacred thing. Like bookclub.

Anyway, my husband found her when he was a college student. When we married I hopped on board.

So we go way back. Probably still have the present M. sent when my first daughter was born.

M. always fits me in during my summer holidays.

Rhode Island is a small place. My father knew her parents from the Irish circles. We knew some of the same people.

Every time I visit she’s got a mixed bag of clients.

I could meet an older woman going on a trip to Syria or a woman who says my cousin Francis roomed with her husband. Back in the day.

Love it. Usually fun and light hearted. M. and I discuss books, restaurants, travel destinations, politics and family.

This summer day was also about politics, restaurants and family.

M. was talking about her sister. Probably because the previous week was the seventeenth anniversary of her sister’s death.

Her sister sounded so fabulous. A Rhode Island girl who was one of the leading art dealers in New York. A pioneer of the art scene in the East Village, Chelsea and Soho. Who Andy Warhol immortalized in a silk screen back in 1985.

But that is not why I’m writing this post.

I was sitting there with foil strips in my hair and my eyes filling up with tears.

Because this lady had cancer and died at the young age of forty-five.

M.’s sister decided that she wanted to die on Cape Cod and on a Friday. She did both.

This woman’s husband’s called M. the day before she died and said basically that she wasn’t doing great. Maybe something in her breathing. Maybe nothing but he just wanted to let them know.

M. says, ” Thank you.”

She thinks about it and says to herself, “I’m going to the Cape.”

It was midnight.

M. called all the family members.

They all made the decision to head to the Cape.

And that is when the tears dripped down my face.

I just had a vision of this family hopping into their cars for a trip that no one ever really wants to take. But wouldn’t have it any other way.

Surrounding their loved one as she transitioned out of this world.

The last people she saw were those who loved her most. Her husband and her family.

When we are born the first people we see are the ones who absolutely love us most.

If we are fortunate we pick up a few more as we journey through life. Siblings, partners, children or friends.

It’s only fitting that’s the way it should end.

With those who love us most.




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Remember in my last posting when I stated that my father didn’t have a mean bone in his body?

Well, that was the truth.

But when I was young there were many times when I thought he was mean. Like when I wasn’t allowed to do things that other kids were doing.

I would exclaim, “But Diane is allowed to go!”

He would say, “I don’t care. You are not Diane. Your name is Mary Beth.”

After he died in March, my two brothers and I spent the day on Cape Cod. No kids, spouses or other distractions. Just his kids. We went to all the places he used to bring us when we summered there every July. A pilgrimage of sorts. It was a “Big Chill” reunion minus the pot, drama and cool soundtrack. Because we didn’t have any of those three things with us.

We usually stayed in a house for two weeks-sometimes at his uncle’s place- but there were a few days we stayed at a hotel. Maybe until the house was vacant. I can’t remember.

Anyway, we went by the hotel and my younger brother said, “I wonder if the pool is the same. I remember when we would get out of the car I’d get so excited that I would make a bee-line for the pool. Mom and Dad were still unpacking the car and Dad would yell at me to stay right where I was. As a parent of two little ones I totally get it now.”

I agreed and thought of a gal that I used to work with at the phone company. In 1999, I had read in the newspaper that she had experienced a tragedy beyond comprehension.

Not long after arriving at a R.I. beach, on a summer’s day, her eight year old baby girl went into the water and drowned. She could not be revived even though there were doctors and emergency personnel on the beach that day.

I had a baby that year and was the mother of a six year old. I was absolutely devastated for her and her family. I couldn’t imagine.

These things can happen in an instant. No judgement. Ever.

This is not to even compare the situations. Of what happened or what could have happened.

Just this point. It is what I thought of that day when my brother said he now understood. My Dad wasn’t being mean when he said I couldn’t do things I wanted to do. Or when my brother wanted to run to the pool alone.

He only wanted to protect us. That was his job.

We totally get it, Dad. And we will always love you for it.

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Last week, Rory, my eldest and twenty-one years old, called me from a nearby Malaysian island. I asked how this was and how that was. Great conversation.

But then I blow it. Like I always do.

She said she was going to go for a swim before getting on the ferry that would head back to the mainland.

I immediately said, “Wait? What? Where are the other girls? Alone? You’re not going swimming alone? You can’t…………..”

She was like, “Mom, you always do this. It’s all going along great and then you……”

I guess the end of that sentence would be, “act like a mom?”

My entire family acts like a mom. Even my dad. Maybe it comes from his side of the family. Bunch of bosses. Not sure why she doesn’t get that after twenty-one years.


“Start moving into the left lane now. The exit’s coming up in fifty-four miles.”

“You’re going to stop in and see “insert any neighbor’s name”, right?”

“The gas tank is only 3/4 full? Fill it up. Better to be safe.”

“Put on the light if you are reading. You’ll go blind sitting over there in the dark!”

“Back the car in.”

“You can’t go out without a coat!”

“You have to stay to the left of the bike path when walking. Only the bikes are allowed in the right lane!”

“Eat your salad. It makes you pretty.”

“Eat your carrots. You never saw a bunny with glasses, did you?”

Dad’s sister, Auntie Rose Marie in New York speaking on the telephone to her adult daughter who is vacationing with me on Cape Cod  

“Everybody got their sunscreen on?”

Calcium and daily vitamin consumed?


“Helmets?” For the love of God, I’m walking!

“Sensible walking shoes?”

“Bottled water?” It was a stroll not a jungle trek.

“Don’t drink and drive.” On bicycles?

Cousins (daughters of Dad’s sister, Rose Marie, while we were spending time together this past summer)

“Everybody got their sunscreen on?”

Calcium and daily vitamin consumed?


“Helmets?” For the love of God, I’m walking!

“Sensible walking shoes?”

“Bottled water?” It was a stroll not a jungle trek.

“Wine anyone?”

Auntie Maureen in Ireland

“Just stay directly on the footpath.  All the way. Do not veer towards the right. Do not veer towards the left. Just stay directly on the path and you won’t get lost. Just stay on the path.”

“No, don’t set your handbag down there on the seat. Mind it.” During Sunday Mass in a suburban Dublin church.

“Do not look them directly in the eyes and watch your valuables.” Little tinker children loitering around us in the city. Okay, maybe she didn’t say anything about looking them directly in the eyes.

Dad’s youngest sister, Aideen, in Ireland calling her adult daughter (who I was staying with) after a week of suggestions on what we should be doing. 

“What’s on for today?”

My cousin answered, “How could I know? I haven’t been told yet!”

I was laughing. Sure, we are adults but we are so used to being bossed around by the Dads and the Mams that it is almost second nature to us. We take directions very well.

Why, oh why, did it skip my daughter’s generation? Why doesn’t she get this?

My dad has three more sisters that luckily escaped this posting. And I could go on but just wanted to give you a taste. An idea. What Rory needs to always remember. This “bossiness” only stems from a true love, a desire to protect, and a willingness to demonstrate the utmost caring.

But she might not realize it until she has one of her own. And starts to “blow it” or gets a bit “bossy.”

Sending thanks to every big bossy person in my family that blew it. The day you stop will be the day you don’t care.

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