In honor of the one year anniversary, I am finally posting her eulogy.

I’m young, and I’ve been fortunate enough not to attend many funerals, so I don’t really know how to write a eulogy. I asked around, and it seems that no one else does either. So whatever this is, I wrote it in the spirit of my mother, and I hope you all will be able to laugh with me. Please.

A few months ago, I was talking with my friend Bobby about my mother and he said something about her that was perfect. He met her a year ago when she was in recovery from breast cancer and her hair had just begun to grow back in.
He laughed and said to me,
“Well, if I were to sum up Christine Ranelli in one statement it would have to be ‘the first thing she ever said to me was:
“Do you want to rub my fuzzy head?”
I had to agree that it worked, she was crazy in that way.

Over the years and especially in these last few months I have heard so many amazing stories about my mother. Just this year she and I were saying goodbye to Leigh Tyler, everyone was crying and hugging, and as we walked away Leigh yelled out,
“You know, your mom taught me how to ride a motorcycle!”

We received a postcard from a very old friend of hers that I read with her. It said:
“Every time I walk by the Guggenheim museum I have a distinct memory of you and me visiting there, and when we reach the top of the rotunda, you pulled a pair of roller skates out of a bag and tore down circular halls and out the door. “
I mean, tell me? Who besides my mother would do that? NO ONE.

My mother told as many stories about her friends and family as they did her. She was incredibly involved in the lives of people she met, because she genuinely cared. She could hear a story from a woman on a bus and come home crying. She was saturated with emotion in a way I’ve never seen elsewhere, and when she laughed it filled the house.

She always told us one story that our family simply refers to as “The Lobster Story.” My mother had an older sister named Diana, who she adored and admired and loved her entire life, but who passed away when my mother was still young. One year, for Diana’s birthday, she was given a pair of lobsters. My mother and Diana spent all day with the lobsters, even naming them. What my mother didn’t understand, and never could understand, was that the lobsters would become her sisters birthday dinner. So any time anyone mentioned lobsters…or birthdays… or sisters, my mother would tell this story and cry, and we would all laugh.
It was a classic moment of my mother’s. She loved Diana so much that with her passing she remained a very real part of my mother’s life, even into adulthood. I remember planning my high school graduation party, and writing out the guest list. Were sitting at the kitchen table and I’m saying
“So we’ll invite auntie Liz…and the cousins..and this friend, and that friend…”
And she suddenly says,
“Well, I guess we can’t invite Diana, because she’s dead.”
So I just stared at her.
A second or two passed, and then we laughed so hard we were crying and practically shrieking. Because that’s what my mother brought out in people.

She told me how she met my father, and he told me how he said to himself
“That girl is going to get me in trouble.”
And she did. I mean, She gave him Nick and me. Though she also gave him Emily to keep us in check.
I once asked her,
“What would you do if your boss was hitting on you?”
and she laughed, then looked at my dad and said,
“I’d marry him.”

It wasn’t uncommon to find her covered in paint and plaster, tearing out chunks of our walls, all part of her latest project. In a pair of old jeans and spotted shirt, her hair pulled back in one careless motion, it was her uniform.
She was born with an artistic ability and could never let anything be. She changed her surroundings until they provided what she needed, be it light, or comfort, or an environment for her children to adventure in.
My bedrooms were madhouses to the fantasies of any child, and the secret wishes of any adult.
I’ve slept in Morocco, beneath the flowing ivory curtains of a desert tent, reading by the light of a lantern.
My brother napped in an ancient Egyptian palace covered with murals and golden columns painted with Hieroglyphics (they spell out “Your sister loves you”).
We played with our toys in the middle of a jungle room, beneath plastic vines and stuffed-animals, in front of a giant photograph of a waterfall.
She was…crazy. But She made my life incredibly interesting.

Our pastor told me that with these speeches, it helps to think of it as if it is a letter.
If this were a letter, if it were possible, mine would read all the obvious things:
I love you.
I miss you.
I will never find anyone truly like you.
That even a short time with you was worth more than most mother daughter relationships.
I would say,
If you were here, you would have been the first to cry,
and the first to laugh.
You would have lost one of your earrings.
You would trip on the sidewalk.
The letter would ask,
Do you remember reading T.S. Elliot in the living room?
Do you remember Prufrock and how he said:
For I have known them all already, known them all
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons
I have measured out my life in coffee spoons
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
Do you remember how I read it out loud and you said
“Ugh, it’s too good!”

I know you would remember your sister’s pocket sized copy of the poem
“If”
And the words
“ If you can keep your head when those about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”
And I would scream:
I am losing my mind and it’s all your fault!
Because you’re gone, and I don’t know what to do.
And none of us do.

I would say how there are so many stories I could tell, but that I chose this one and I hope you like it.

There is a giant rhododendron outside our kitchen window and in spring it blooms with thousands of light pink petals. I was in the kitchen at the sink and I looked out and saw my mother there under the tree, bent over in a pile of dirt and digging away. The way the light came through the branches was so stunning, and a few petals fell onto the ground around her. I ran upstairs to get my camera, but by the time I came back a giant gust of wind had blown most of the flowers away, and the moment was gone.
My mother was just like that, a moment in life so stunning it’s not meant to be captured. Yet the memory of her leaves such a vivid imprint on our minds it will never fade. She left behind her smile, and the sound of her laugh, and the smell of her perfume mixed with dirt from the garden. She left my siblings and me. She left us a beautiful garden. And she left me spring, and the memories of her that appear when the wind blows through the leaves.

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It has been a while since I quit smoking, I can’t remember the last time I had a cigarette. I got caught walking behind two guys smoking today, and it was really awful. I feel incredibly guilty for all the times I probably did that to people.

There are days where I miss it, where I consider just starting back up to lose the weight I gained when I quit. I think I mostly miss the aesthetic.

I miss having an accessory that said(in my mind)
“I may look like a cheery chubby 5-year old, but I am really just a cynic.”
“I appreciate the sex symbols of eras past.”
“I am a rebel, with out a cause.”

It probably said:
“I am ignorant about my asthma condition.”
“I am young, stupid, and trashy.”
“I have no sense of smell or respect for my palette.”

It’s hard being at my school, where half the students reek of smoke. I must have smelled terrible. I bet Freud would have a field day analyzing why women smoke…

Well, I’m glad I have accomplished something in the past year.

I have noticed recently that I have been giving out a lot of advice that I should just give myself. I am hesitating to decide on so many things in my life right now. Decisions leave me awake at night. I am desperately incomplete. I am so scared to be alone.

I think I just need a sign. Not something from God, something from a human. I just need to know someone can hold me up. Maybe I just have to find that strength within myself. I’m tired of relying on myself, when I’m willing to help others.

If I could, I would fix all my friend’s problems. I can’t and it’s very hard for me to deal with it. I just want to help.

My manager really misses her husband, he moved away for his job. I think all the time about how I just want to leave her a plane ticket to go see him. I just know there is no way for me to do it without her knowing it is me. Am I crazy?

Maybe I am just making amends for the way I treat people sometimes. I have an incredibly loud mouth. I talk too much, and too enthusiastically. I can sometimes be cruel when I intended to be mild. I sometimes get stuck in gossip about my coworkers, and my dark humor gets me in trouble. I feel guilty all day. I wonder what they say about me.

When my mother died I was prepared to handle the denial, and the depression, and the bargaining, and acceptance. I was not prepared for the anger. I find myself infuriated at people around me. My thoughts scream so loudly, I am sure that those around me hear it. I apologized to my coworkers, who claim they have not noticed. Maybe I am just internalizing it, but I am afraid sometimes that I am going to explode.

I have been having trouble sleeping recently. It is such a vicious cycle, I can’t sleep, and I know I have to be awake in 5 hours, so I become more stressed, which makes it harder to sleep.

I just want to make people happy. Maybe I am severely over-compensating for the fact that I can’t make him happy. Maybe these moments are only standing out because of the contrast, maybe I am just an incredibly good-hearted person.

Eh, probably not.

Cuteness Attack!

So I was practicing for Nicole’s 21st Birthday Cake….

And This Happened:


Cake Pops.

The flavors in order are:

Limoncello, Margarita, Raspbery-Lime Rickey, Absinthe, and Pina-Colada.

We(my coworkwer Jen and I) also made Cosmopolitan, Peanut Butter Mudslide, Chocolate-Creme de Menthe, and Chocolate-Nutella. Those flavors just weren’t adorable enough to make the photo.

So excited, hopefully the final batch come out just as well.

Here are some close-ups:


I’m thinking that everything is going to be ok. At least I keep telling myself that. If only my mind would stop wandering down all these dangerous paths, namely in the direction of you.

Only 37 more days. I can do that.

Thankful for the little things

Alicia is covering for me so I can scatter my mom’s ashes, and she was really nice about it.

For anyone who is interested:

On Friday, April 30th, We are leaving from my house at 10 a.m.
We are stopping for (amazing) sundaes at Putnam Pantry then making our way to halibut point to scatter her ashes.

We are going to get sundaes because I promised my mother I would take her remains to get ice cream.

Just let me know.

Everything seems to be going wrong. My schedule has destroyed my energy, my sanity, and the few remaining scraps of my relationship. Now I don’t even know if I will be able to scatter my mothers ashes. My family didn’t ask me before they schedule and I will be working, and its a Friday during cake season.
I know it will all work out but it is just another stress in a big pile of them.

They should really change the name “group project,”when was the last time anyone has worked on one where 99 percent of the work wasn’t done by one person? When?

I think I am going on a hunger strike until I am no longer responsible for taking care of the men in my life and they have to actually give a shit.

I had a really great time last night showing Jason around Boston. Mostly it was just nice to get out of the house.

I finally had a day off today. I had plans to see family and they fell through, so I spent most of the day sleeping and I went grocery shopping. As boring as it was, I think it was what my body needed.

Tomorrow will be a long day with work and school, and I am dreading it already.I just have to make it through the next few weeks.