Rita’s Last Letter to “Mom”

When Rita found out her chemotherapy at the Hemer Lung Clinic was not as effective as she had hoped, she walked away from the treatments (against doctors advice) and she opted  to take a more ‘natural’ approach to her death than that which the medical profession would have preferred.

Enough Already!

Giving Up on Radiation and Chemotherapy

It was at that point that I started working on her rationalist eulogy and she started working on her last letter to her mom.  When she finished writing it, she gave it to me with the following caveat:

“If my mom treats you with dignity and respect upon my death just hand her this letter and walk away.  If she treats you like a criminal and disrespects both my wishes and your dignity, then do whatever you can to make sure that EVERYBODY sees this letter.”

The full letter is available for public viewing at the bottom of this post.  The following is some expository information I have added as ‘bonus’ material.

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Last Words to a Lost Love

To My Wife

When you passed, I not only lost the best cuddle buddy this side of Bandit, but also my biggest fan and patron. Now that you are gone, I will do my best to try and make a living off my blogging as you always told me I could.  Up until now, I’ve always considered myself the Mr. Tanner of blogging.  I do not know how well I write, it just makes me “whole”.

The me without you misses you but it’s gonna be ok because there’s still ‘me’. The two people who knew me best and I loved the most were you and my mom. Both of you were exceptionally intelligent women and the only women who held me close to their bosoms while whispering to me how special I am.  I believed you both.

You did your best. I tried my hardest.  You were always right!  Your mother will always be the Devil.  She did call the cops on me as you feared predicted, but you did have me properly ‘papered” against the local police. Same goes for the immigration office.  Just as you warned me, your ruthless, soul-sucking mother tried hard to abuse me!  I can never thank you enough for making sure my scrawny ass was well protected.  I attended to MOST of your unfinished business before bouncing out of Germany and will tend to the rest as time and situation dictate. You would be proud of how well our son is handling the situation in your absence.

Rita’s First and Last Husbands

Me and Rudolf

Your first husband Rudolf and I had a touching non-verbal conversation at the “coffee and sandwich” get-together after your funeral. I’m glad you got to spend some time alone with him in your last months reminiscing and comforting each other.  I know he’s as hurt by all this as I am, even with the passage of time, and realize from your conversations about him, as well as the shared intimacy and caring glances I saw you exchange, how much you meant to each other.  I was never jealous or threatened by your fond residual feelings for any of your previous loves, lovers, husbands or the ongoing stream of men who hit on you.  They were been bound to fail, but they did show good taste, even as you skillfully swatted them away.  I wonder how many other couples have memories of sitting around on multiple occasions comparing notes on which of their friends, acquaintances, etc. had tried to hit on them at any given time?

I held with you to the end babe and you to me. On your last day it’s as if you waited for me to whisper a final goodbye in your ear before slipping quietly away.  I never sought an avenue of escape from Germany when you offered though you lovingly suggested it would be easier on ME.   Bandit and I have now cast ourselves back off into the world, far away from the toxic miasma of the Devil.  We are now back into the great swirling seas of American opportunity, far outside the confines of our shared German Utopia.

Rita Tends to Vince After Open Heart Surgery

And Vinny?  He honors us both. I recognized his love for you as being as strong as mine for my mom.  It has had a profound effect on my attitude towards him. He is a positive influence on the world reflecting your gentle manner and delicate sensibilities. We did something seriously right with Vinny. I mostly ‘blame’ you for that. That’s boy’s seriously not, not right. Polished. Savvy.  I see your heart in his eyes.

Lizzy Love

Lizzy will be tended to by Vince. I wish she was young enough to travel with me and Bandit. I think of you when I see her.  Vince needs a dog too after all!  I will miss her and Vince as I depart the continent, but will do my best to save our one remaining beloved family dog ManMan in the US.

Here's our little Man-Man

I can recreate the loving environment we hand-raised him in. Imagine Bandit and him getting reacquainted!  I understand he’s still a nervous little nelly belly.  We both know where that comes from.  I have your recorded wishes on ManMan’s disposition. I have your favorite picture of ManMan from your bedside to remind me, but I wouldn’t forget anyway.

People still take so much for granted. All is well. And thank you. Thank you for everything. I shall remain in awe of your brilliance and your faithfulness forever. I shall continue to sing the graces of our shared humanity and your special place in the hearts of so many. I will represent your wishes through eternity. I will not burden future relationships by impossible comparisons to you.

I promise to try and find the good Dutch woman you suggested would be ideal for me as a best fit companion, if and when I ever desire to remarry.  I’ll give it a go, somehow. I will vigorously defend those who misrepresent your memory with the actual documentation of your life from any distortion no matter the threat. The book of your love is written on the nooks and crannies of my heart and I shall sing it’s harmonies in prose and speech til my own throat goes stiff and lifeless and my fingers limp.

“You were you, I was me, and we were happy” Our happiness befuddled many who didn’t know our special bond. Still does. You are proof there IS some actual humanity in humans. I hate that your mom misused you so horribly. I understand your addictions. You were mine.

I will always love you.  We’ll talk about a lot of stuff later. Or not. Heaven for me will always be the time we already spent together in Eden.

If Hell shortly awaits, you’ve left me toned and properly rested. I think there are papers to prove that too!  Count on me to remain good without God. I have plenty of experience battling Devils, so don’t worry about me.  Now off to find your loving daddy Joe.  You and him have a celestrial coffee and cigarette break.  You can use the regular sugar now instead of those hideous low-calorie substitutes.  After all, it won’t kill you!  Order one of the most expensive of the ethereal blends.  Try out the special “Stardust Mix” for me and drop a Yelp review into one of my dreams.

#yourbiggestfan #tangledsouls #myprincess

Enjoy.

High Society

German Princess

I’m doing a little housekeeping and while sorting through the myriad boxes of “life” that have collected over the ages I ran across this old newspaper clip:

Well Traveled Teen

It’s an article that a newspaper in Orange Texas published back in the Apollo 11 era. The article included a picture of my wife Rita (top) when she was fifteen years old, who at the time, was traveling around the US with her mother and grandmother.

For what it’s worth, nobody here in Europe did a newspaper story on me when I got here.  As far as I can tell they don’t give two tugs on a dead dog’s cock about me, but then I’m not the rock star my wife is/was.

The text on the original is faded and difficult to make out clearly, so I took the time to transcribe it for posterity.  Any bolding or hyperlinking (duh) has been added by me:

A teenager who has combined, as the old Dionne Warwick song goes, “the best of both worlds” is visiting friends with her family in Orange (Texas).
She is Rita Brunson, 15 –but doesn’t look it– from Essen, Germany. Along with her mother and grandmother, she is making a two week trip to the United States.
They are staying for several days at the home of Mr. And Mrs. Richard Reese, whom they met in Le Havre, France, when the Reeses were on vacation there.
The story in itself would be interesting enough, but put this in your pipe.  During her young life Miss Brunson has lived in almost every Western European country, Guatemala and once she called Jersey City, NJ home for a year.
To make it even more confusing she is an American citizen, and speaks English flawlessly.
The story, however was clarified when she said she was the daughter of an American engineer.  Her mother is German and operates a restaurant in Essen.
She had attended French, German and American schools, was born in Germany and has spent about two and a half years of her life in the U.S.  With the exception of Jersey City, most of these were whistle stop trips.
Thus far on this trip her family has visited New York, Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas – to visit friends they med in Madrid – and Orange.
She responded to questions about life here as opposed to Germany.
“American young people, they have more activities.  The German’s go to church because most are Catholic. The sports are more interesting here.  In Germany they belong to clubs and you have to be 18 to join,” she said.
The clubs she said, are special,clubs, and youth participate in such activities as tennis and horseback riding. “In Orange, you can’t do much here, but it is fun in a way.  If you know people, you can do things. The people, are very friendly, helpful.  They’re warmer,” she said.
“The Germans have an older culture than Americans.  Americans live freely, but Germans don’t live as freely.
“The Americans, their jobs pay more.  In Germany, that’s not it.  The Americans don’t specialize on industrial work and that’s what the Germans do,” she said.
Miss Brunson said that in Germany, the “young people go to discotheques in the evening and the older people just stay home and have a good time.  That (discotheques) is what they don’t have here.”
Miss Brunson said the educational system in Germany was much more specialized than that of the United States and that students begin training for a profession at a very early age.
For the record, Miss Brunson prefers the American way of dating.
“In Germany, if they go out with a girl they just meet. They go alone. In America the boy acts like he was grateful for the date and in Germany the boys don’t. Here, you go more steady.”
 
I’ve chosen to share this with my readers as a tribute to my lovely wife and as documentary evidence that I am indeed the luckiest man alive.
 
Enjoy.