Thursday, June 10, 2010
The two looking over me instead of standing next to me.
I loved her so much I won't EVER be the same without her. She was like a second mother to me. Better than a grandmother, more like a best friend. I know in my heart she is in a better place but I'm being selfish and would rather her be here. How terrible right?
My parents bought a tiny two bedroom house when I was very young. Next door lived a couple in their early sixties. They didn't have any children of their own but growing up I changed that. I was at their house more than I was at my own probably.
Nita Tolve, was a tall, beautiful, honest woman. She loved babies and children. She never had her own. She couldn't have them. I can tell that was heartbreaking for her. But she had me. Her hair was always perfect. She went to the "beauty shop" every Thursday since I can remember. She made (and taught me to make) the best pies. She taught me card games. Her favorite color was yellow. She loved potato chips. We would eat them in old tupperware bowls late at night. She hated birds. She loved shoes. I didn't know anyone who had more shoes, (all heels) than her. She had dresses galore. She always looked perfect. She always kept an amazingly clean house. She was the perfect housewife. She love her husband with all her heart and they both made that known. They had marriage rules. Never go to bed mad and never yell at each other unless the house was on fire. I remember thinking that I wanted a marriage like theirs. She would take me shopping. She took me shopping up until the week she died. You couldn't tell her no to anything. She believed that all would be good if your husband was fed and your house was clean and you did a little shopping. She spoiled my kids. She bought them toys and clothes and paid for them to stay busy so "drugs wouldn't find them". She would tell me to not let them get away with anything or I'd pay for it when they were 20. She made sure my kids knew about her brother that died coming down a mountain when he fell asleep so they would know to take driving VERY seriously. She taught them to eat well because she had a brother who died of malnutrition as a little baby because he was allergic to absolutely everything. He could only have barley water and that wasn't enough to keep him alive after 18 months of age. She insisted on buying my kids school clothes every year. Jaidyn my five year old starts kindergarten this year and I know Nita would have been so excited to dress her up for school. She was the queen of surprises. She would call and ask what size shoes each child wore and shoes would show up at the door. Ones she had picked out at JC Penny's. She had them delivered to me because she knew I couldn't say no then. She was just like that. She always gave. Every year she would make me a blueberry pie (my favorite) for my birthday. Every anniversary she would buy us a new bedroom comfortor because you have to "keep your bedroom pretty for your marriage". THAT one cracked me up. When I was living with her as a teenager and when I spent the night as a child, each morning she would bring me a hot washcloth and said "Wash Your Face" it is the easiest way to wake up. And each morning would start with the smell of that washcloth. I loved the smell of her laundry. Her closet smelled amazing. Everything was clean and sharp and ironed and perfect. I think I got most of my OCD from her :) She was shopping on Thursday May 13th. She died five days later. It was so fast. She just got sick. But she NEVER complained. When she opened her eyes for a split second when my sister, brother and I went to see her in hospice I will NEVER forget how blue her eyes were that day. I had never noticed before. I mean, I knew they were blue but not THAT blue. That is my last memory of her was her blue eyes. I also remember and want to write (type) I remember the last thing she said to me. She said, "I LOVE YOU HONEY So very much and I always have". She had told me she loved me before but this time was different and it sounded different. I think she knew. She had said to some other family that she was ready to go but she didn't tell me that. I don't think she could. She died the day after I saw her in hospice. I was going to see her that night again, but she died before I was done doing daycare that day. So everytime someone dies for some reason I have a God moment. :) I remember the day after she died we had a tornado warning in a near by county. The sky was dark but it was early evening. I thought to myself, I hope she is happy and I hope she is dancing with Jerry in heaven... and this is what I saw at that EXACT moment. I had to pull over and get out and take a picture.....
It was instantly blinding. Actual rays shinning down. I just knew. I knew she was there. I knew she was happy. It INSTANTLY made it just a bit easier.
Jerry Tolve was a tall funny, friendly man. In his book there were no strangers. He knew everyone and everyone loved him. He was quiet, he was loud, and he had the best laugh. He kind of "held his laugh in" until he was bright red. He called me Chick-a-loop. To this day people who knew him and I still call me that. He served his country well during WWII. He put God first. He liked to sleep in. He went to the late church service. He loved dogs. He kept care of his things. He was never late on his oil changes. He recycled. He loved Hawaii and Alaska. He had one tattoo. It was of Alaska on his left forearm and it was a "military thing" he said. He was a big kid and had his own toys. He loved loud remote controlled toys. He collected trains. He loved those old 40's posters of pin up girls. He adored spoiling his wife. He was a faithful husband. He would shave everyday. He had 'connections '. He bought a new flag every year. He put up and took down his flag everyday. He taught me the correct way to fold/hold and never drop a flag. He would go for an afternoon walk everyday unless it was "crappydappy" out. When I would try and turn on a light as a young child and couldn't reach the switch, he would ask me, "Are you standing on your tip-tip-tippy-toes?" I tied his shoe laces together when he would fall asleep, (if he ever was REALLY asleep or just "leading me to believe" he was asleep). I would drink his coffee that had gone cold when he didn't finnish it. To this day I think of him the five times I have to "reheat" my coffee everyday. I enjoyed late night root beer floats with him. I danced on his toes. I played catch with him. He always approved of my boyfriends. When I was young he said "every little girl needed RED pattend leather shoes. He bought them for me and my first daughter when she was born. He taught me to pay attention to women drivers because they would either be "scratching their watches or winding their butts" . He taught me to love your spouse like no other. He made sure the holidays were elaborate. Candy stretched across an entire dining table for my sister, brother and I for Halloween. Toys that lit up and were loud and "just what we wanted" for Christmas. One year he "forgot" the Barbie doll I wanted for Christmas so "SANTA" came IN PERSON Christmas morning to deliver it to me. He had set that all up. I had wagon rides and moped rides and walks to the school yard to swing. I remember fiding a ring in the gravel at the school yard with him. I remember to this day what it looked like. I remember him telling his wife when we got home that I had found a HUGE blue diamond and that I was going to be rich. I was so proud of that ring. He asked me every five minutes if "I still had my expensive ring". I remember him taking my sister and I to the zoo. To this day every time I see a hippo I will think of him. He took me to Brittany Hill every year for my birthday so I could have "The Best French Onion Soup in the World". Brittany Hill is no place for a child. It is (incase you don't know) a VERY nice restraunt, (more so back in the day) but you just didn't take kids there. He did. Every year. He would buy me a new dress to go. He made sure my dresses had matching shoes, hats and a purse. He bought my Easter dresses and Christmas dresses and birthday dresses every year. He would play restraunt with me ten thousand times in a row and never get irratated. I would take his order with pen and paper tablets that he bought for me just for this game. I would tell him over and over that we are out of "that" (his "item") but we have "this" and list another similar item. He would laugh. I remember him telling me to always no matter what be nice to my parents. He told me that one time his mother was ironing his shirt for a school dance and she burned it. He said he said mean things to her. He said she cried and appologized but he said he was a stupid teenager. He said after she died that was his one regret. He said that was all he could ever think of when he thought of her was making her cry. He told me cute stories of sneaking out and stealing the car that had to be wound up to run to go and sneak off to see his wife back when they were kids and dating. He gave me three hundred dollars (in quarters) for gas money when I turned 16. He said he gave it to me in quarters so I "couldn't spend it all in one place". He bought me my first phone when I was six. It was a collector Mickey Mouse phone that I played with while he was paying his phone bill at the phone company and he thought I needed it, so he bought it for me. He came to my baseball games, my school plays the births of my first two children. He would have loved Steve. I am so glad that he shook Steve's hand and knew Steve, even though I wasn't married to Steve back then. He was born on Feb. 9, 1910 and he died 89 years later and my heart broke that day. He had a stroke that paralized him but didn't kill him. I will never forget these details. In the halls of the rehab building at St. Anthony's Hospital he pulled me aside and asked me something. He said, "Promise me if I die you will take care of Nita", (his wife). I at THAT moment said Jerry, I will take care of her BUT I am NOT going to have to, because you are going to get better and take care of her yourself! I did this to encourage him. Stroke victims go through a depression. I saw it. But it worked he was never 100% back to "normal" but for awile he did really well. Him asking me to take care of Nita was a very important moment because it had a HUGE meaning later. So after his stroke I cut the grass, I cleaned the gutters, I raked the leaves. He always wanted to sit outside in his wheelchair and watch. I am sure he felt bad but he would tell me how to do it, how he wanted it done. I would give him wheelies in his wheel chair and the first two times he would yell DAMNIT CINDY and by the third dip backwards I would have him laughing. I would drive to their house everynight to put him into bed after his next stroke because Nita couldn't lift him up on her own. I would take them out every Saturday because Nita couldn't lift his wheelchair into the car and Jerry wanted to always go with her. He continued to have mini strokes until he had a really bad one. Jerry wanted to die at home. Hospice gave us a list of how a body starts to shut down before someone dies. I hated that list. They have that list down to an exact science. Every step down that list was like a dagger going through my heart. I alternated nights with other family members sleeping with Nita as Jerry laid in the back bedroom in a hospital bed his last few nights. I had such mixed feelings. I wanted to be with Nita if and when he died to support her, but I wanted to be no where near that house when he died for my own breaking heart. To this day I can't listen to a bathtub drain. That is what his breathing sounded like his last two days. He had HORRID bed sores. My God moment was when everyone came to say their last goodbyes because he was so bad. I sat at the back side of his bed and watched his entire family cry. Each one of them told me how much he loved me. They walked out and his Priest walked in to give him his last rights. I started silently crying. There was NO sound but tears were just rolling. I think it was because of the hospice list that said his hearing would be the last thing to go and I didn't want the last thing for him to hear was my crying. The Priest at that moment said to me, and no one else was in the room but Nita, Sometimes people hang on because they are waiting to hear something. He had suffered for two weeks straight. I thought to myself what could HE POSSIBLY be waiting to hear? Just then it hit me. Him asking me after his first stroke to promise him that I would take care of Nita. So my God moment was after his last rights and after everyone left the room as horrible and as hard as it was without crying I promised Jerry I would take care of and look over Nita. He died that night. March 25, 1999. My daughter Maddie was born one year and three months later and she has such an old soul personality to her. She never knew him but I can sooooo see him in her in more ways than one. I think about it a lot. Maddie will say or do things that make me think of Jerry. It is a beautiful reminder. My last child Mark's middle name is Jerry.
There isn't a day that I don't think of these two. I miss them terribly. I am a better person because of both of them. My only wish would be to have one more day with each of them. I would hug them and love them and tell them how very, very much I love them. That their love for me, meant the world to me. This post took me a month to be able to write. Nita died one month ago tomorrow. Missing her so much. Jerry too.