Clutter is a funny place. It's a pretty honest snapshot of the randomness bouncing around inside my head on a daily basis, but it's not a diary. There have been a number major events that have happened in my life since we all started hanging out together. Some have been discussed in detail, some have been alluded to, and some never got here. There's no real criteria to that process, except answering some general question of, "Do I want the entire world to know about this?" That's the potential downside of our global reach. Things usually sort themselves out pretty quickly, but I've been struggling with one for a while now.
Mom Clutter died at the end of January, and I've been trying to figure out where that fits in here. The loss has dominated my life ever since, and to a large extent, writing Clutter has provided a brief refuge from that pain. I could have just moved on and check out the headlines without mentioning it, but among other things, she was part of Clutter, and her death deserves to be addressed in this space. I need to be able to write about her differently going forward. When I leave for Fort Myers at the end of the week, it's important to understand why Dad Clutter is going with me this time.
We had a moving celebration of her life yesterday. The love filled the room, as so many different parts of her life were represented. I also can't help but think that it's no coincidence that we had better weather than we've had recently, and that yesterday morning was the first time this year I heard the birds chirping in the Clutter Tree.
What follows is the written version of my tribute to my mom yesterday. I went off-script in a few places, but you get the general idea.
I love you, Ma.
In case there’s anyone I haven’t met yet, my name is Colin Moore, and I’m Carol Moore’s son. Thank you all so much for being here today. Before we go any further, I want to thank my dad for putting this great event together.
My mom’s death has been a devastating loss for me. She was such a large presence in my life, and it’s a daily struggle to deal with the fact that all of that energy has suddenly been replaced by overwhelming silence. There have been so many times in just the few weeks since she’s been gone, where something came up that I wanted to talk to her about, or expected to hear from her about, or just little things like my annual silly birthday call which always made me feel like I was five years old. I keep checking my email and phone for missed messages, but they’re not coming, and it breaks my heart.
But I try to push through that pain by focusing on what an amazing woman my mom was, and what a remarkable legacy she left behind.
I think of her passionate advocacy for social justice for issues like repealing the death penalty in NH. I think about her strong letters to the editor on a variety of topics, which were the best things that ever appeared in the Concord Monitor.
I think about her lifelong involvement in politics, be it as an advocate (a founding member of the NH Women’s Lobby), a legislator for 10 years, a presidential campaign organizer (and delegate one time). She believed in the responsibility of the government to improve lives where it could. The campaigns had a familiar flow to them. My mom would find the candidate she loved, do everything she could to organize support for him, then usually complain about the entire process when her choice didn’t win, vowing never to do this again…until four years later when she found her next candidate to support.
I think about her love of culture, particularly the movies. Mom loved the movies. It seemed like every conversation we’d have about weekend plans would be “I’m doing this, that, the other thing, and then going to the movies.” Just about every visit we had, either in Boston or Concord, involved a movie. She worked hard to help launch the Red River Theatres, and I want to thank the Red River Board again for honoring her with a seat plaque.
I think about her love of travel. She couldn’t wait to take her next trip somewhere as soon as her last one finished. It made me wonder at times if I might be adopted, because I’m a bit of a hermit. However, we had a number of our own fun journeys together, particularly Fort Myers to see the Red Sox in spring training in the last couple of years.
I think about her love of her garden and her plants….She put so much love into her yard… I could never do it justice trying to describe it. It was like entering another world as soon as you turned into her driveway. It breaks me that the garden won’t be back again…I think of the plants on a daily basis, largely because I live in a greenhouse. My place isn’t that big, but there are about 20 plants in there, most of which came from my mom or grandfather, or are came from cuttings from the plants they gave me. Taking care of my plants always relaxes me, and I’ll be forever grateful for that gift.
I think about her love of the Red Sox and Patriots. There were so many calls and emails during and after games. Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia could do no wrong in her eyes, but she always seemed skeptical about the pitching, particularly John Lackey. It was a big deal last year that Lackey no longer lacked…I remember her calling me right after they won the World Series last year. All I could make out was, “they did it!” because she was laughing, yelling and crying so hard…
Patriots games always seemed to stress her out, unless New England was winning 35-0 in the first three minutes of the game. She could switch on a dime from complimenting Tom Brady for being such a handsome man, to yelling at the Patriots defense to hit Peyton Manning just one time. I know she would have loved this year’s Super Bowl.
I think of the outpouring of love that came when news of her death became public. I sat in front of the computer screen struggling to type my status update on Facebook…the words just seemed so unreal. I waited about 10 minutes before I hit send, and then sat there for a bit and watched as the messages just came from everywhere. I think there were about 200 comments, representing 10 different lives. It was the sensation of being bombarded by love, and it was overwhelming.
There were also the private emails and messages, many from people I’ve never met. They’d tell me, “Your mom was my mentor, your mom showed me such kindness when I was having my own crisis. Your mom was my therapist, and she changed my life.”
Then I look at all of you here today, and I feel the love in this room.
So when I take all of that, it starts to show me the roadmap of how to put the pieces back together. It reminds me that my mom left this world a better place than she found it, and I tell you that there is nothing on this planet that makes me prouder than to say that I’m Carol Moore’s son.