As my mom often told it, she was ten or eleven years when she first began losing her religion.
It wasn’t that Mom was faithless; she was, indeed, built to believe, as evidenced by her lifelong search for a place to express her deeply felt faith.
It was, rather, that she didn’t—couldn’t possibly—believe a woman’s sole path to heaven was being called there by her husband. That she could envision believing herself worthy of welcome in every single room of buildings of worship, instead of being prohibited from entering many for her audacity to not be born a man.
By the time she could talk about all this with me, I was myself ten or eleven to her thirty-ish years of age.
She’d left her religion an eternity ago, by my reckoning, and it had been—naturally, for things that have happened eternities ago!—a clean break. Continue reading “worth more”→
Today I rode a skateboard,
while remembering another one
I once barely got to ride.
When I was in middle school, my mom knew I was fascinated with skateboards. Since she was forever stuck with junker cars that lasted only a couple of months before croaking, she wanted me to have wheels that would last. She scrimped and saved for months before that Christmas to buy me a kick-ass board.
I was so proud of that board, I almost immediately showed it off to a schoolmate whose mom stopped by our house.
The schoolmate was so impressed, he immediately told his friends.
Within a couple of days, one of those friends broke into my home and stole the board.
I was crushed. I’d been building up confidence to really ride it, this rare and beauteous first-hand gift, and now wouldn’t even get that chance.
My mom suffered untreated, serious mental health issues for years before she succumbed to cancer treated too late. Why no treatment for either illness? Simple, in her own words: Literally living off other people’s garbage, she could never come close to affording the care.
I’d written about this at greater length in 2011, in a blog site since deleted.
In “Dead Moms Can’t Care,” I wrote some words that have been reverberating through my soul the last couple of days: “Think the cost of helping her through that minor infection is high? Imagine the costs of caring for her four motherless children.”
COVID-19 has gotten me thinking about all the moms (and dads) who, lacking appropriate governmental protections, must choose between potential exposure to illness or feeding and providing shelter for their children. Forced by economic realities to show up at work, they potentially risk their own longer term futures for short-term survival, yielding so many tragic losses–for them, for their children, and for the society that loses all their creative contributions that could have, in a more humane system, been.
In 2011, I thought my mom’s death was an unfortunate outlier, despite a nurse friend telling me how pissed off she was watching many of her poor patients traverse the exact trajectory to death my mom did. Continue reading “Dead Moms Can’t Care”→
When I deleted my old blog, it had more than 8,000 subscribers.
It was hard to say goodbye to that, but it was important, too. I’d come to have an unhealthy relationship with all things online. I needed to step away, and deleting my blog was one important piece of that stepping toward better.
Unfortunately, it turned out I didn’t have copies of all my most important posts, some of which appeared to be lost to the Internet Archive.
Last night, I was just on the verge of sleep last night when it hit me: I’d gotten dates wrong in a recent post!
No big deal, I thought. I’ll just find the right dates in a minute or two, update stuff, and then it’s Snoozeville for me.
Each anniversary of her death, I take at least a few moments to celebrate her life. I offset memories of her profound late-life mental illness and slow succumbing to cancer with joyful memories of her.
I remember her meeting her first grandson–my oldest son–and rejoice that she lived long enough to meet one of her eight grandchildren.
I remember, too, the joy of being her daughter when I was a child.
I remember her reading with me and my siblings. I recall the sense of adventure we shared as books and comic books took us places we hardly noticed our poverty prevented us from visiting.
I remember Thunder Thighs, her superhero alter-ego who battled villains with superpowers such as B.O. and the earthquake-sized reverberations created when she’d stomp for good with the might of her thunder thighs.
I remember how much she loved horror movies, and how I loved trying to sneak-watch them with her.
It’s that last remembering that’s closest to my heart today. Thanks to immersive theater, which I once dismissed as simply one of my husband’s “hobbies,” I had the irreplaceable opportunity to connect with my mom as she’d once lived and breathed.