Day 335: The Sound of Silence.

Illustration by Cecile Mancion

Sunday night was quiet at my mom's. Last week has come to a close, and long gone are the days that seemed like years ago of uncertainty at the hospital, the sense of finality at the wake and funeral and the acceptance and celebration of my aunt's life over lunch in Queens. Now is the quiet lull that always comes after a loss, once everyone has gone back to their homes to digest what exactly has happened. I hate this part.  

Séb, my mother and I quietly sat over a comforting dinner of brocoli di rabe and grilled chicken pizza and a bottle of Cakebread Chardonnay. We absorbed the silence as we let the warm pizza and cool wine temporary alleviate the weight of our heavy hearts. The bleakness of what would otherwise be another Sunday night on Long Island was deafening. I let my eyes glaze over thinking about the aunt that I lost, but more importantly, thinking about Ginger and Vinny, who have just lost their mother.

Leave it to my mother to try to pull me right out of my very visible funk.

"Are you peeing right now?" my mom whispered over the table. 
"What?" I responded, not exactly sure if I heard her question correctly. 
"Are you peeing?" my mother continued, "y'know, in your Depends?" "My Depends" I don't have "My Depends". I have Depends that were bestowed upon me but that certainly does not make them "mine". Just as I was going to make a snippy comment that I was not urinating at the dinner table, I caught my reflection in our kitchen window and you know, she had a point. I did have that concentrated look on my face, a face that I could imagine one wearing Depends would make, while releasing in public. I took a bite of my pizza and with a full mouth informed her that no, I was not peeing and that I regretted ever trying them on, even if it was just for "fun". This Depends story is going to follow me for life and I just have to accept the fact that whether it's true of not, I now wear Depends. So be it. It also doesn't help that Lisa Rinna has been all over the news endorsing the brand and showing up to red carpet events announcing what's going on under her dress. How gross. And of course it has to be Lisa Reena, my mom loves her. Are you surprised? My mother once asked a woman on a street in Los Angeles if she had ever been to Lisa's boutique in Valley and if she could give us directions from the 101. That woman was Catherine Keener and I was mortified, just mortified. So you can imagine my irritation that of all people and all products, the two banes of my current existence are now joining forces.

A sense of humor certainly runs in my family and this is how we release during tough times. Ginger, who is no exception, gave a speech on behalf of her mother that managed to make us all laugh, and put smiles on our faces, even in the setting of church that was packed with one familiar face after the next. The last time I saw her girlfriends was exactly a year ago when they all came to Paris. In an effort to cheer me up after my crisis of 2011, I was asked to be their photographer for the week, to take campy photos of them around the city in hot pink berets. What a difference a year makes. I was devastated over MF, couldn't crack a smile at our ludicrous photo shoot and was a shell of my former self. I was desperately trying to laugh and to enjoy having friends in from out of town, but I was so blocked by what had happened that I couldn't see past my own drama. Do you know how dumb I feel now? If someone would have told us what would happen a year later, I would have smacked myself for being such a little whiny bitch.

As I reach my full year, I am becoming more and more aware of who I am and am almost ashamed that I let myself become so heart broken over someone who was not worth my long and desperate nights of isolation, locked up in my chambre de bonne, not wanting to be a part of reality. While it didn't take the experience of what has happened this week to realize that life is short and no man is worth what I put myself through, it was a good reminder.

I will always remember my aunt Mary for her quick tongue, terrible taste in music, blunt yet maternal nature, sharp wit and her fritatta (which I used to always make fun of how she would say a sentence with a thick Queens accent accept frittata - it had to sound all Italian. She'd then give me a warm hug and gently call me a jerk). My heart reaches out to my cousins Ginger and Vinny during this time. No one should lose their mother at such a young age but I'm glad they have people like me and some of our other friends in their lives who have lived through this, because this is a heart break that cannot be undone. Aunt Mary will truly be missed.


  1. Oh darling. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know there is nothing that can make any of this better. Just know I'm thinking of you... and your depends :)

  2. While my heart goes out to your entire family, Ella, please let Ginger and Vinny know that my thoughts are especially with them. We've only got one mother and losing her is hell. I wish them strength and peace. I also hope that memories of her will sustain them through their grief.

    Big hugs to all of you.

  3. Urgh this is truly the worst but at least you were able to be with your family during this unfortunate time. And you'll have a nice supply of Depends to bring back to Paris with you and I hope Seb makes sure that happens! ha! Je plaisante!

  4. "a heart break that cannot be undone" - I love that line. So true. Losing a parent is very painful. But they will feel better someday. It's a wound that never heals, but it stings less and less as the years go by.

  5. I'm sorry for your loss, it is never easy to say good bye to someone we love. I think it is great that you and your family can join together and help each other through, especially with laughter. You and yours are in my prayers.