every. single. day.

I grew up very, very poor. There were times I ate from food boxes,
times I ate from other people’s trash, and
times I simply didn’t eat at all.

The last couple years, my husband and I got our finances mostly squared away. We worked diligently to get our debt down to only my (granted, significant) law school student loan debt.

One of my sisters and I have talked about the money-related trauma left us by our childhood. That trauma lingers, though most my debt does not; Continue reading “every. single. day.”

Believe

In 2009, my Black now-husband told me the baby I was carrying–our baby–would experience racism someday.

I laughed him off. Racism? In Los Angeles in 2009? Was he confusing here and now with 1960s Arkansas? I figured it more likely he was hyper-sensitive than that racism was a broad present-day concern hurting brown-skinned people every single day in the U.S. of A.

Since then, I’ve seen and learned more about racism than I could ever hope to fit in a series of books, let alone a single post. I won’t even try, though I will tell you my oldest son was only three when I first saw him subjected to overt racism, and that he was only three when he started making statements reflecting that he was internalizing messages from classmates on darkness equaling badness. Continue reading “Believe”

Dead Moms Can’t Care

My mom didn’t have to die, and she didn’t have to suffer so deeply for so long before she did.

I summed up her final years in a tweet yesterday: 

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”