It’s been almost three years since she’s been gone. It’s hard to believe and I’m pretty sure I don’t miss her any less. I still think of her daily, nightly, afternoonly, and occasionally in my dreams. Very often, these thoughts come about in the context of current events. For those of you who remember my mother Margaret Magnus (that’s professor, as in PhD RN to you), she was never at a loss for words and always had a strong opinion about just about…well, just about everything. She had a way of making it very clear exactly how she felt and what she wanted, without ever raising her voice, in a tone that would occasionally send a shiver down your spine.
Local Middle Village issues were among her favorites. She was a staunch community activist and a constant at Juniper Civic, COP 104, and Community Board 5 meetings. She vehemently protested the 7-Eleven on Eliot Avenue for months. She rallied in support of Keyspan Park on the site of the old Elmhurst tanks. The hockey rink, traffic patterns, and police presence in the neighborhood all were items she couldn’t help but weigh in on.
She also loved to talk local, national, and world news, both serious and not. From business and politics to who was the next cast of Dancing with the Stars, she always had an opinion. She read the New York Times, Daily News, and the New York Post from cover to cover daily. She would also occasionally “borrow” my Wall Street Journal before I collected it in the morning. She was always “up” on everything that was going on, seemingly everywhere.
So it is not surprising that this is the context in which I think of her most. Upon hearing of the recent MTA plans to “redesign” M train service, I thought, “What would Margie think?” When plans were confirmed for a public high school on 74th Street, I wondered “Hmmm….what would Margie think?” The election of Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and everything that comes with her, the global financial crisis, Michael Phelps’ gold medals as well as his extracurricular activities, the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, health care reform, Eliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods, the “balloon boy,” Mike Bloomberg’s third term, the Yankees’ World Series victory, Michael Jackson’s death, and even the latest season of the Bachelor, these are all things that have happened since she left the earth. “What in the world would she think of all of this?” I’m sure she could talk up a storm on any one of these subjects.
These unavoidable thought bubbles that burst into my day make me simultaneously sad, because they are reminders that life and time continue to march on without her, but comforted by the opportunity to remember her as part of my day. And I have a strange feeling that she sometimes looks down upon me and wonders, “What does Tanya think?” And when I can’t get a read on what I think she would have thought about something, I default to a piece of one of her favorite quotes in which she would tell you “It is all part of the grand cosmic design” and smile to myself.