She Goes On

Louise circa 1970.

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been run over by a truck. It was a stressful weekend. On Saturday, we hunkered down for a tropical storm that didn’t impact us. Tropical Storm Claudette’s only affect on me was a weird dream from watching too much teevee. I was in a ballroom with Penn and Teller. They were nothing like their stage personas: Penn was mute, and Teller wouldn’t shut up.

On Sunday, we attended an informal but still moving interment ceremony in Hammond, Louisiana for mother-in-law #1 Louise Allen Cobb Couvillion who died after a long illness at the age of 99.

Dr. A suggested that we follow the Quaker tradition and tell stories about Louise. I was the comic relief and told several amusing stories as I stood next to a row of headstones marking those who had preceded her in death including my first wife and her brother. Both of whom died far too young.

Louise’s ashes were in a lovely box made by monks at a nearby monastery. She was laid to rest between her two husbands: that’s a story for another time.  Per her request, her grandson sprinkled some her of ashes on the other graves.

In addition to telling a few funny stories to break the tension, I read some lyrics from a song by David Bankston who knew Louise for most of his life. It’s a song he’d hoped to sing in person, but he couldn’t make it.

LOVE LEAVE ITS MARK  by DAVID BANKSTON/BMI

I was born on a muddy river a long time ago My heart is always haunted by voices I used to know

Stories are my religion, music my praise Sweet or salty I celebrate the days

I hear my mother singing Daddy’s laughter is deep and dark Battles or Blessings Let love leave its mark

Memories are precious they glitter like gold Crowns found in an ancient tomb from a King’s stronghold

I hear my mother singing Daddy’s laughter is deep and dark Battles or Blessings Let love leave its mark

Voices call me I’m close to the river’s end When time becomes more precious May death become my friends

David sang this song at a memorial service for his late parents Al and Dorothy who were close friends of Louise’s and two of my favorite people. I doubt that my recitation lived up to his singing, but I did my best.

Afterwards, we gathered at a restaurant that Louise loved: Middendorf’s on Bayou Manchac. The place was packed for Father’s Day, so we had to wait. I realized that I’m still apprehensive in crowds after all that time in lockdown, especially given the Gret Stet’s low vaccination rate. I survived but, unlike many, I’m not ready to return to full normalcy or normality whichever is your preference. Life is still weird, y’all.

Louise was a remarkable woman. An instinctive feminist and liberal in a conservative state who remained vital and curious to the end. She always treated me like a son and Dr. A as her second daughter.

We had our ups and downs like most families, but always came together in a crisis. It’s why I believe that family by choice is the best family. There was only one blood relation of Louise’s at the table yesterday, but everything felt right.

The post title comes from a Crowded House song written by Neil Finn. It’s part of what I’ve come to think of as his mortality medley.

The last word goes to Crowded House.

3 thoughts on “She Goes On

  1. rob says:

    Hot Tuna in Wappinger Falls…?
    I lived about 20 miles from there in Ridgefield, Ct
    What year was this, what was the venue ?
    I’m wondering if this was the same year that I saw them at the Globe theater in Norwalk, CT
    rbm

  2. jerryy says:

    I am sorry for your loss. I hope the good memories will stay with you and any lesser ones will leave you be.

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