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One of My Favorites
Although not known as a touchy-feely person, my mother, who died on July 18, would often say, “I love you,” to her three sons and just as often say to me (or Nick or Peter), “You’re one of my favorites” – never mind that you could only have one favorite. Contradiction was something my mother was very good at. As the film you have just seen makes clear my mother offered people a mixture of contradictory impressions. She was tough but she was loving. She was direct but she was shy. She loved to socialize. She loved staying at home.
In the months leading up to her death, my two brothers, Nick and Peter, and I often speculated on how many people would come to a memorial service/party for our mom. Although our father's memorial two years ago was well-attended, he had been very active in the world, almost up till the moment he died. He was a charming, sociable man with lots of friends. Although my mom could be charming and sociable, she was, as many people told me in my documentary, Remembering Effie, she was also more "forbidding," "formidable," and hard to get to know. It had also been almost a decade since she had been active in the world, since her struggle with Alzheimer's disease had taken her out of the picture.
We were pleasantly surprised, therefore, when more than 50 people showed up. And why? I think it all comes back to that phrase, “You’re one of my favorites.” It is telling -- and it's misleading to try and decipher who really was Effie’s “favorite.” It wasn't Nick, Peter, George, or Me. As I prepared for the service, I suddenly realized the answer that had eluded me for so many years – that anyone Effie loved was her favorite.
I love you, mom. You’re my favorite.
September 14, 2011