My beloved Aunt Crazy Pants passed away after a valiant fight against terminal lung cancer (after never smoking a goddamn cigarette in her life). By the time cancer was found through an unrelated surgery, it had already spread everywhere but her brain and she was given six months to a year to live in July of 2016. Well, being a feisty little bitch, she survived with cancer 370 days.
Today is ACP’s heavenly birthday and she would be turning a very young 70. Ever since her passing in September of 2017, we keep celebrating the fuck out of one of our favorite crazy ladies. We always cheers with her fave cocktail – specifically from The Cheesecake Factory – a gin rickey.
Celebrating ACP’s first heavenly birthday together, Mama CBXB and I did what all mother/daughters do to bond. We got tattoos of ACP’s signature. We were the first ones at the tattoo shop that day and acted like we’d never been in a place of permanent ink before.
In fact, we’d been several times with ACP to get her tattoos, so we brought her along in pictures.
The photo I chose was of me holding her hand while she got her first tattoo. It was at the Lake of the Ozarks non-world renowned Tattoo Ted’s after a day of coving out and cocktails.
We then went to our fave spot on Broadway in Nashville, Robert’s Western World to keep the celebration alive.
We love sharing stories and peeing our pants over shit she would say or do (she literally shit her pants during a shopping trip at Target with her mom once. When ACP shared why she had to rush to the bathroom, Gma might have well been on the store’s loud speaker and announced loudly, “YOU SHIT YOUR PANTS?” For the record, I’ve also shit my pants at Target. Must run in the family….). I just got an eye roll (sorry Gma) and a belly laugh (you’re welcome ACP) from the sky, I’m sure. We’d often witness tears running down her leg from laughing so hard and we have fun remembering the spirit this woman, mother, daughter, sister, crazy fun aunt and loyal friend to countless people sprinkled throughout our lives.
To say there’s a hole in my soul doesn’t do it justice, as my aunt was like a mother to me and I take after her in many lovely ways.
I carry the torch for her klutziness (I fell into her closet after getting out of her bed – still in my emerald green stilettos and funeral dress – the day after her funeral).
We also can ruin phones like nobody’s business. She would constantly drop hers in a toilet, I run my over with cars. It’s a special talent.
I carry her ability to get tongue tied at any given moment (I asked a male co-worker at a new job if “these are the size of rubbers you wanted” – I forgot the word band after rubber). She constantly called my boyfriends the wrong name. I once dated a guy named John for a few years. He answered the phone when she called once and, for whatever reason at a loss, she said, “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh GARY?!”
I have the ease of her unabashed bluntness and no fear of confrontation (she deemed me the biggest bitch of the family before she passed. I know, so sweet).
I will honor her by eating double what I normally do during trips to the Iowa State Fair when this bitch Rona finally gets the fuck outta dodge.
Being a crazy aunt is something I’m already all over.
I was born with her dramatic flair for life, so that bonfire was lit long ago within me.
While it’s important to remember that when someone may no longer be among us on earth, our relationship with them can still exist, it’s also important to remember the quality of life given during an especially grueling battle with cancer. ACP’s youngest son R. Nasty made sacrifices I can’t say many young adults his age – let alone any adult – would do to care for his dying mother. I mean before being diagnosed with cancer, she was already the most dramatic woman on the planet (like bitching about “having” to pack to go to Hawaii – or any other fabulous destination…yeah, poor thing), so you can imagine the sheer joy the magnification of her theatrics became.
R. Nasty moved in with his mom (all young men’s dream come true) being closest in proximity and able to make accommodations to do so, while his other brothers and extended family lived further away.
He answered every time she hollered with a patient, “yes Mother,” sauntered into her room after every bell ring (a sound that will surely haunt him for the rest of his days), removed an ice cube each time he accidentally put four instead of three into her water and endless other duties that come along with caring for a cancer patient.
My point is, this dude is a fucking saint. Throughout all the treatment routines, doctor’s appointments, therapy, surgeries, etc, ACP’s absolute favorite time was watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with R. Nasty every weeknight. Even if she dozed off in the evening as she got more cancer riddled, she wanted to be woken up to watch Stephen Colbert with her son.
In the evening on August 31, 2017 my feisty aunt was taken from home hospice to the hospital. That night, as the end was drawing near, the room full of family was clearing out and R. Nasty leaned in and said, “We’re going to watch Stephen Colbert one more time, Mom.” And that they did. She died at 3am on Friday, September 1st, 2017.
While we’ve partied in every way possible in honor of Aunt Crazy Pants’ love of life, I’d like to acknowledge the sacrifices her son made so selflessly. When asked about it he always says (and still does), “it’s my honor to take care of my mother.”
So how can you show a small token of appreciation in return to a son who lost a friend, a mother and a fucking funny lady all rolled into one? Sister CBXB came up with a great idea, reached out to me to execute (why do I have to do all the work?) and with the help of some letter writing, reaching out to every.single.contact I have and making them reach out to every.single.contact they have, magic happened.
Through the efforts of fabulous friends and the help of family, we were able to pull this shit off and I scored two VIP tickets (yeah, you read that right – VIP bitches) to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. R. Nasty and I graced the Big Apple for a taping of the show, celebrating ACP in NYC.
R. Nasty flew from Iowa, I flew from Music City and we met at the airport. Sounds like a meet cute except we’re cousins.
Of course I had to document every.single.moment of our celebration trip and ever accommodating, R. Nasty indulged me.
Regardless of R.Nasty’s twisted ankle and me accidentally crashing a rapper’s photoshoot in Time’s Square, we had a fabulous trip celebrating ACP’s life with a whopping side of shit show. We were only there for what some would say resembles a long layover but it was worth every second.
The deeper the love for someone, the deeper the grief. For grief is the price we pay when someone we love the fuck out of departs us for greater pastures. For me, celebrating their life and what they loved makes me still feel connected. And boy, does the grief still run deep for those of us who loved ACP.
We all miss you something terrible.
Cheers to the craziest fun aunt I got to call mine. I promise to
quietly laugh my ass off at memories of you (after probably tripping and falling down some stairs first) forever.
Join me in raising a gin rickey high to the sky tonight in honor of the Aunt Crazy Pants in your life. Throw on a little green (emerald or kelly green to be precise) if you really wanna kiss some ACP ass.
Happy Heavenly Birthday Aunt Nancy.
Love ya, Mean it.