That Time of the Year

May 11, 2012

Mothers Day is three days away and while it is less painful then previous years it still hurts.  I miss my mom.  Some days I really feel her presence like last weekend in New Orleans. Most of the trip I kept thinking of how much she would enjoy the city and then, when posing with local Indians in their colorful garb I was channeling my mother even repeating her mantra when forcing us to pose for photographs, “You’ll thank me later.”

 

So here I am, 33 years old, married with three children, running my mom’s business, running my own business, attending to my mom’s mom, and doing the best I can.  There are times I feel just like my mom, other times I feel her presence beside me – one time I even channeled her telling me, “I can’t make it so obvious” and other times I just want to talk to her.

 

Earlier this week my husband’s boss’s wife invited me to some mother’s day fundraiser movie screening/ event. I did the big thing and invited my step mother (who subsequently ignored said email).  I told my husband last night about the invite and he asked what I was doing instead.  And he guffed when I said staying home.  But I just do not want to be at some mother-daughter event that my mom would have enjoyed.

 

It’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard. And I remind myself how lucky I am to have a mother so wonderful whose void is so profound.

 

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Are You There Mom, It’s Me?

April 22, 2012

On the advice of an acquaintance I reached out to my mother through a medium. With my brother and sister on the telephone we called South Africa to hear the Medium describe things about our mother that go beyond any sort of google or Facebook search. It was eerie.

I’ll use the word mom, although everything was spoken through the medium as a vessel for my mother to communicate with us. She said glowing things to my brother and challenging things to my sister and to me, not too much.

Talking to my sister, my sister Mom began by apologizing then telling her to leave her husband and work harder at her photography. To my brother, she raved about how happy she was and how successful he will be. And to me, I’m supposed to take care of my sister as she leaves her husband, go back to writing, which will be successful if I finish, oh, and I am not using my brain.

My sister was devastated and conflicted by all of the information and shared more than she should have with her husband who claimed to have had a sixth sense they would not work out which was one of the reasons he has been resisting getting a vasectomy. After consulting with her shrink, my sister concluded that science cannot explain our experience but that does not mean it was not real, or at least real to us. It is more than okay to explore things like this so long as it does not dictate our life and choices. I added, that perhaps Mom had said all of these things because this is what we needed to hear. The harsh words will force my sister to craft a healthier relationship with her husband or she’ll get the courage to leave. My brother needed the confidence about his business to gain confidence to pursue deals and I needed the direct comments to return to my writing which has taken a back seat to the kids.

That night my mom came to be in my dream. She had known about the medium but warned me not to do it too frequently, and just like my mother suggested we use a different person next time from Latin America. A kooky friend of my mother’s was not surprised about the conversation. Like me she has felt mom’s presence and she simp;y needed a vehicle to communicate directly with us. At first I thought that the medium was 80-90% accurate but the more I think about it, the percentage falls closer to 65%. But having 65% of my mom for an hour sure felt great.


Breast Cancer Frustration Month

October 18, 2010

October is officially Breast Cancer Awareness Month or as I like to call it Rub it in My Face Month.

My mom suffered from two bouts of breast cancer complete with chemotherapy, radiation and a metastasis. I doubt that cancer killed her. It was probably the uterine sarcoma that lodged itself in her lungs. But she passed in India and her MRIs do not show color contrasts so it is hard to pinpoint exactly what did her in. While I’d like to blame someone or at least the entire Indian medical community, I know people die from cancer all the time in New York. Wealthy people with access to the best medical care do not always beat cancer. But hey, nobody beats life so something is bound to get you in the end.

Signaling out one month to acknowledge a disease that has struck so many serves as a reminder that we still have a ways to go in terms of research and medical development. It’s also an opportunity to manufacturers to make an item in pink or stitch a ribbon somewhere, charge a premium and donate that premium to research. Why not donate a portion of the proceeds on everything sold that month instead of just the pink thing? And if you are going to spend an extra $5 for a pink flashlight, why not just donate to Breast Cancer Research independently. Must you advertise to the world that you support cancer?

I walk past aisles in stores and windows in storefronts reminding me that October is reserved to remember a disease that has affected my family so significantly. A reminder of why I get ultrasounds, mammograms and MRIs annually to prematurely catch any mutation in my breast.
Okay, maybe the awareness month will lead other woman to get a mammogram that normally would not, but I’m certain there is a better way.


Was it the Indian Food?

May 13, 2010

It had been nearly two years since I ate Indian food a spell broken last night.

My mother *loved* Indian food. She loved all things India and ever since she died there in December 2008 I have had no desire for aloo papri or pakoras. While I know my mom would have encouraged me to eat the most delicious cuisine on the planet as much as possible I just did not.

As I sat at the table last night with my chicken tikka masala I stared at the photos of my mom with me and my daughter and had a conversation. I laughed, nodded in agreement and discussed our business. Her reaction was more muted.

Today I am depressed. Dragging.

Tomorrow I am traveling with my husband and kids to his hometown for his high school reunion and I miss my mom. I don’t know if it is the trip to my in-laws or the Indian food or just a jolt of reality that is pulling me into the abyss.

I miss my mom 100 times a day. I’m still digesting that she is gone. Even typing the words passed away in India I’m in disbelief. Did that really happen? When can I wake from this bad dream? Or can I at least find the motivation to take advantage of my sitter and run a few errands?


Don’t Join This Club

April 19, 2010

Seven months pregnant and sitting shiva, I was convinced that I had a monopoly on my suffering. More than my siblings as my mom and I lived nearby and I accompanied her to all of her doctor’s appointments. More than her boyfriend because he did not know her as long. More than any other girl who lost her mother because my mommy was special. I had loved her so much and depended on her so dearly and spoke to her so frequently, as if that would be enough to stave off cancer.

I recently read If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Reporter’s Notebook by Katherine Rosman and was amazed by the parallels down to the awful conclusion.

Having lost my mother has become such an identifying part of my identity. Perhaps because it is still sixteen months later the wound is still raw. Perhaps because it really is a big deal. I no longer feel the need to tell everyone I meet that I recently lost my mom but I do reveal it with frequency. If I had lost a limb, my left hand or even my thumb, the world would know to handle me with care. But barring that, I disclose my handicap.
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The Mourning Cycle Repeats

January 6, 2010

Isn’t it supposed to get easier? I thought it was. The awful tragic aspect of mourning where tears welled up even thinking about my mom had passed. I was able to articulate what had happened without saturating tissues. At first the healing, the improvement felt painful in a different way. No longer was the loss of my mom raw, the wound healing, time passing. Then it was okay.
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