Had strangely mixed feelings about posting this. There’s fiction under this.
Today would have been my Mom’s birthday. Can’t say what age as she never told it to people until she was over 80.
When I think of my Mom now, I don’t usually think, of that horrible month before and two years after. She went for a physical on her birthday. We never got the results as she suddenly died four days later.
My Mom would go for a physical on her birthday. While far from religious as she believed even less than do, she believed, but wouldn’t really say that she did, in the Kinehora or evil eye. She wouldn’t say this to anybody but because it wasn’t logical, but somehow curing cancer through laughter was. Not that she ever had any cancer but small melanoma’s because she didn’t listen to my father, and “took” the sun. Not that she really spoke that way.
There was nothing stereotypically Jewish about my Mom. Well, the guilt thing, but I believe that was hard wired in all our brains.
I think she really went for a physical on her birthday to say out loud, I’m alive and I plan on staying alive.
That’s one of the things that made her death so hard. She truly enjoyed life.
My Dad was outwardly magnetic and charismatic, but it was my Mom who kept him in shape and in line so that he could appear. She loved being the woman behind the man, as long as it was my Dad.
She always expected my Dad to go first, and told me that she had grand plans for her widowhood that her macular degeneration. She said that she had wanted to move walking distance to the 92nd Street Y so that she could take as many classes as possible.
“But mommy, you wouldn’t move back into the city when daddy was alive.”
The truth is that they both loved being big fish in their little Long Island pond. They just stayed too long.
She moved to the Towers, three large buildings on the Queens Nassau border, with every amenity, including a great movie theatre that specializes in foreign and independent films.
Despite being blind, she managed to meet hundreds of people in the Towers. People couldn’t help but be attracted to her because she was so cheerful. Perky something, believe it or not, I have often been called at jobs. I now realize that it was a compiment.
My Mom never picked up a paintbrush in her life until her late 40’s. She thought that since my aunt was an artist and my younger sister was one,she might have some small gift. She had a great gift.
She learned to drive in her late 40s, and was an excellent driver despite failing the test four or so times. She was too anxious.
Once we were in Miami Beach out of season for a wedding and were sitting in the Doral’s coffee shop. We were the only skinny people there. My Mom looked at all the people eating sundaes and couldn’t take it anymore. She walked up to a table of strangers and said:
“They call me have spoon will travel, may I have some?”
That’s always been my favorite mommy story because it says a lot about her.
There was the summer my sister was fourteen and I turned seventeen. The doctor’s were convinced that she had stomach cancer. Our family had never eaten food with trans fat as we didn’t eat processed food, nor did we eat much meat or foods known to cause stomach cancer. My parents knew all about the dangers of fats and cigarettes and would go on about both. Of course that only made me want to eat forbidden food and smoke.
She wouldn’t go into the hospital until my sister was in an art camp and I was in Mexico for the second summer. It turned out that she had an almost burst appendix, and did almost die. I never forgave her for putting my sister and I first. My Dad did realize how much he loved, needed and depended upon her.
When I was 22, in the spring of 73, I was a passenger in a car accident. The Old Westbury Village police treated my friend and I as if we were criminals. Though they couldn’t find drugs in the car, they were convinced that we were big dealers or something. When they finally let me make a call, I called my Mom.
My parents didn’t live in Old Westbury but did live close by. It was nine in the morning and my friend and I were on our way to the dentist. I was married, my friend was engaged to a lawyer.
My Mom must have sped. The police didn’t know what to make of this petite well dressed energy machine who immediately realized what was happening and screamed at the police. Wow, did she give them hell. My Dad was president of a large inter-village, hamlet, civic association. I believe that after my Mom finished not screaming but in her well bred manner telling them how sick they were, and how dare they not take us to the hospital, or even give me a dime for a phone call, they realized that my family “counted” as much or more as the Judge’s wife, our car collided wiith.
Somehow the accident report and other vital information was lost. She took us to the hospital, and called my friends parents who of course loved her when they met. I was too young to understand why she called Helene’s parents and not her fiancee. Husbands come and go, but parents, they’re yours for life.
My Mom became my hero that day. For the first time I viewed her as an individual and not as my mommy and the wife of Max. We had always been friends. She introduced me to great modern literature, art and so much more. But I had never seen her as a real person before that day. She did become my truest best friend. I was very lucky and blessed.
She loved telling or hearing funny stories about me, and I will tell some of them on 10/14.
It’s a beautiful day and half a holiday and my Mom would be the first person to tell me to not to talk about her and to get out.
I have to really learn the Imac but now way will I go to the Apple store today–the one in midtown is too close to the Parade route, and if I walked down to the Soho store, I would have to pass too much traffic.
I will be spending much time downtown beginning next week, so I will take pictures. I haven’t taken any classes in the past two years because of the teeth thing, but am making up for it this semester.
I am my parents daughter. I believe that not to take classes and not to learn new skills is a waste of brain power, but the day my parents took me home from the foster home, they began showing me by example, how to be a true adult and to not care about being eccentric or out of the mainstream. Though every twelve year old should fit in.
I know that my Mom beliieved that even though she bought our clothes from Alexander’s, the cheap but good department store, not Best & Company, like everybody else in our town. She did have a bit of problem realizing that the depression had been over for decades. My Dad claimed that she still had the first dollar she made.
I love and miss my Mom very much, but the mourning has ended. It really has.
She believed that I was a talented worker and wanted to see me working as a writer. Of course she died about eight months before I was published for the first time. I was published constantly for the next two years, nominated for some awards, and one was major as the staff had to nominate three cover stories out of 52.
For some reason I had no trouble visualizing my Dad up there somewhere cheerleading for me, but I had a lot of trouble visualizing my Mom as she had absolutely no belief in an after life or anything, and somehow I got in my head that only people who believe get that chance.
Obviously that was warped thinking. i can’t apologize for how I thought. I can thank every blogger who has helped make me accept her sudden and tragic death.
And yes I understand that people who died in the attacks came first, but one of my big missions in life is to make people understand that all grief is normal, and that when the next attack happens, all people who lost lost ones around the time should be treated with the same courtesy at least that the families of the people who died in the attacks are treated.
I can’t help that last statement. My Mom loved it when I yelled at the great god doctor of Macular, and told him not to give us false hope. She told that story to everybody, and how he offered me a job on the spot because I was such a great advocate.
I didn’t learn that in grad school. I learned to speak up from my parents. I’m suddenly bursting with Pia and Mommy stories and it feels good.
Thank you, all of you, who have been so wonderful to me though I do believe that my parents are manuevaring the great Technorati scoreboard in the sky.
It’s now 10/10, and I’m having separation issues from my Mac. Who am I kidding? While everything I sad above is true, I can now grieve for my Mom alone–and I wish that she was here to tell me how great I am. I wish that we could have one day together and one day with family and friends and know that she will die soon.
Sudden death is so hard for anybody, and when you can blame a terrorist attack for your feelings, hey why not?
My mom thought that Bill Clinton was the greatest president of her lifetime–FDR went out the window apparently while he was still president.
She found the impeachment appalling. It was a damn blow job with a woman above the age of consent. No, I’m no longer into politics or issues on my blog.
But if everybody I know feared North Korea why didn’t Bush? If he was going to have a war on terror, why not pick the real enemy?
It’s too late for Bush and that might not be a great thing. Because there really might be threats, but who is going to believe them?
Though I cast blame as a political blogger and was proud to do so–especially Rove who has no known power anymore, I think most political blogs were too quick to make fun of warnings and other things. Easy to make fun of them I guess when you don’t have to take the NY subway or go to Penn Station which never can be secured and have a best friend who works on top of the station.
9/11 made my Mom lose her will to live. I’m in the age group where younger people have decided that JFK’s assassination is the defining event of our lives? How? Have a friend who would argue that it was the Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan that was the defining event.
But 9/11 was the defining event of every American’s life time. It has to be. Civilian American soil had never been attacked before.
Do people believe that when you reach 40, you stop having defining events?
My parents showed me that defining events end when you die,
My mother wouldn’t vote because she didn’t want an absentee ballot or somebody to go into the booth with her. That makes me so sad in many ways.
But her answer to everything was “talk a walk” so….