The Birthday That Should Have Been
Those of you who know me in real life, or have been reading this blog for a while, know that a large part of my motivation to become healthy comes from my mother’s untimely death, at the age of 69, from the complications of diabetes.
It makes me a little crazy to think that if we’d known then (90s and 2000s) what we know now about the evils of the low-fat, high-carb diet, maybe her life could have been saved.
Maybe my children would have more than vague memories of their grandmother (my daughter was four months old, so she has no memories at all). Maybe we could have worked out whatever issues we had between us, and had a closer relationship.
I do cherish that we visited Israel shortly before she died, that she held all of her grandchildren and enjoyed our company. I also cherish that I spoke with her by phone the night before she went in for surgery for her congestive heart failure, and told her how much I love her.
She was a very complex person – her family of origin was emotionally abusive, but she worked very hard to break the cycle. She had wanted to go to medical school, but instead became a teacher, because that is what she was expected to do. She had my sister and me when she was young, but then struggled with miscarriages and stillbirths. In the end, she needed to adopt my brother. Some holes are just very hard to fill.
When she retired from the school system, she went back to school, got her Ph.D. at the age of 50 and opened a private practise as a family therapist. We were all so proud of her. If I am the Queen of Re-invention, I know where I got it from.
As time moved on towards this milestone birthday, I’ve been dreaming about her. My sister, the psychologist, tells me she looks upon these dreams as visits. I like that idea.
Happy Birthday, Mommy. Come visit my dreams again, we’ll have a party.