One of my most vivid memories of being a kid was when I was 6 years old and my Aunt Mary was babysitting my brothers and I at her apartment. She sat us down and popped in a VHS tape and wanted to show us the new Jim Henson movie that had just come out. The movie was Labyrinth. I remember feeling really awful for Toby and thinking it was super cool that I had the same name as the main character. I was mesmerized by David Bowie's hair, I loved the songs, Dennis and I wanted to take our heads off like the Firey guys and we laughed hysterically at the Bog of Eternal Stench. I wanted Hoggle to be my companion, Ludo to be my friend and I really wanted to have a cup'a tea with the worm and his misses while Sir Dydimus and Ambrosius guarded the door. To this day I proudly say that Labyrinth is my most favorite movie ever. It's magical and funny and thrilling. I love sharing it with Charley and making any friend who has never seen it, watch it while I mouthed all the words to every scene. Plain and simple, it makes me happy.
So, on this day where everyone is saying goodbye and paying respects to David Bowie after an 18 month battle with cancer, and while I appreciate him for his music, his originality and his enticing portrayal of Jareth the Goblin King, I want to take the time to thank my Aunt Mary for introducing me to this movie. You see, today my family and I, along with my uncle and cousins, laid her to rest. Needless to say it has been a shock to my whole being this past week.
Grieving for someone who was so damn good to us as kids and seeing my Grandpa and mom and dad, brothers, sisters, niece, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins pay their respects and celebrate her life has brought back a flood of memories these last few days. So many of my childhood memories include her. She had a way of making everything fun. Whenever we would have a family get together, we would always ask "will Aunt Mary be there??". She took Dennis and I to a double feature of Scrooged (another one of my most favorites) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when they came out and I remember it being one of the most fun days ever. She always made a point to make us feel special on our birthdays. I used to bite my nails when I was a kid and to get me to stop, she told me there were little worms in them that I was biting every time I did. I never bit them again. We spent countless weekends at her house with my cousins, where her and my uncle would let us transform their basement into a studio and we would spend hours upon hours making music videos. From Guns n' Roses to Envogue, we covered every song we could think of. She would help us hang sheets and set up the tripod for the video camera, call us up for meals and make us popcorn after we had finally called it a night. I remember I loved just sitting and talking with her. I may have talked too much and drove her crazy but she never showed it. She always always patiently listened to whatever teenage story I had to tell her. She loved Halloween. Boy, did she love Halloween. I would bring friends over to her house just so I could show them her Halloween display. When she loved something, she loved it hardcore. 200%. She was creative and giving and loved to have fun. She loved taking pictures and we always gave her a hard time about it because we never got to see the pictures she took.
As time went on and life happenings happened, we didn't see each other as much. We all got a little older, had our own families and tried to see each other when we could. It may not have been as much as of late but I hope she knows how much everyone loved her because she truly was. She always made her own path in life, and I think one way or another, she made a point to love all of us too. As I say my final goodbyes to her, I will always have her in the back of my mind every time I watch Labyrinth from here on out. I always thought of her when I watched it before but I guess every time I watch it now will make it that much more special.
I love you, Aunt Mary. I hope you saw that beautiful service Mike gave you today and felt all the love and laughter in the room. As my mom said, we celebrated your life these past few days. I kept expecting to see you walking around, mingling and telling silly jokes every time I looked up. Until we meet each other again, dance that magic dance and give our love to Grandma wherever you are and know that you will be sorely missed.