My mother, Mildred Vandam Bornstein, died just over twelve years ago. I wrote a sadly funny piece about her funeral service. By the time she died, she and I had reconciled nearly all our big issues, and we had a deeply loving mother/tranny daughter relationship with each other. When she died, it took me a week of maddening grief to conclude there was only one way to go on living without her in my life: I had to embody the parts of her I'd relied on, and the parts of her I wanted to be.
Never mind that my mother was an active alcoholic. Never mind that she was as depressed a mess as I am. She was a gracious lady, and a fiercely protective, loving mother. That's what I needed to embody so that her death wouldn't go on making me want to die. To heal the loss of my mother, I've endeavored to be a gracious, delightful lady whenever I possibly can. And to honor her memory, I do my best to be a fiercely protective, loving mother with my queer and freaky children all over the world.
Now Ted Kennedy is gone, goddamn it. When I woke up this morning and heard him being eulogized on the radio, I wept like a child. I howled. I haven't cried this hard about a public figure's passing since Princess Diana died in 1997. She was another gracious, delightful lady. Through my eyes, Princes Diana was also the fierce, protective mother. I have no idea what Ted Kennedy has been to me, but I've begun looking. Never mind that he had shadows in his past. I'm looking for what it was about him that I've relied upon, what was it about him I wanted to be.