Friday, May 8, 2009
So listening to Lewis Black on the way home yesterday normally makes me laugh - and there was plenty of that, don't get me wrong. But as I listened to his audio book, he talked about what an effect his brother had on his life. His brother died of lung cancer in the 90's. My mother passed away in the 90's as well. It wasn't lung cancer. And as insidious as cancer is, so is Lou Gehrig's disease.
She never complained about pain that I could ever remember. Of course, neither my father or mother ever did (ok, when dad hit his thumb hammering a nail, there was plenty of swearing, but by god, I never ever remember him missing a day of work from being sick). They were both children of the Great Depression. Being in debt was never an option. When I bought my first house for $130,000, my father shuddered at the thought of being in so much debt.
My mother was born in a little town in Pennsylvania. Her brother died in the Jonestown flood when he was just a boy. She had sisters from her father's first wife and from his second. She was the first in her family to go off to college, and she never looked back.
She enjoyed her time living in NYC, even though she thought of them as snobs. She worked during WWII degaussing ships (for those of you who didn't know, that meant demagnetizing them after they'd been out at sea so they wouldn't attracted the mines that were set off by the big magnetic field a ship acquires from the friction of its travels).
She was an expert at hearing aids and how to test them - her papers on the subject are still available in archives online.
I guess this has turned into a memoriam more than I had set out to do.
What I was trying to say was - I miss her still. She was my moral compass. Through college, I called her every single day. Ok, sometime during college, I cut back to a few times a week.
When she got sick, it was devastating. She took to alcohol to control the pain, but no one but me saw it. No one but me did anything about it. No one but me seemed to understand the pain of what she was going through. She could no longer control so many of the things she took for granted, nor overcome the limitations to her brain that came from both diseases. She was proud of the accomplishments she had made in the work world, but she was more than happy to give them up to raise 3 sons.
Although I know she will always be with me, her life impacted me in ways I will never comprehend. Just as my father's ultimate work ethic affects me to this day. They both completed advanced degrees and were voracious readers, but were happy to help me with an elementary school science project or talk about my day at school.
I miss them both dearly, every day, but I also know that in every way, they wish me only the best and want me to be supported like they were here in the flesh and happy as I want to be.
So close to Mother's Day, I just wanted to let all the mothers out there know how much your son's love you, whether they have the ability to show it now, or in the future. They will always love you.