Source: My Yiddishe (almost) Mama
She came into my life in 2000, when I began dating her Jewish but unobservant son, whom I would marry.
She had hair the color of apricots, read a book a day, spoke three languages and (I claimed) survived on dust and tea. She organized massive tours to the Berkshires every summer, headed up the Hadassah group at her temple, gave monthly book reviews, had run a camp for young women for years, shook the hand of Eleanor Roosevelt, and was married to Joseph, a New York Police Lieutenant, the love of her life. I never got to meet him. He died on Christmas day, 1999. She maintained a kosher home, but ate in restaurants, choosing carefully from the menu to keep the spirit of the law.
When I had heart surgery, she would make a Mi Sheberach, a special prayer for health, at shul. When asked for my mother’s name (Mary), she would substitute Miriam. Close enough. She was, as my husband said, a big tent Jew.
She traveled from Brooklyn to St. Louis for our wedding. She comforted me that day when I talked to my dad on the phone. He had so wanted to be there, but he was too frail.
She was a cheek-pinching, eat, eat, eat Jewish mom. When I asked to accompany her to shul, she was thrilled. We sat in the front row. I became so enthralled with the reading of the Torah that I failed to realize that EVERONE else had sat down and left me, the tall Gentile, standing. I asked her why she didn’t poke me, she replied, “I wanted everybody to get a good look at you.”
If you think I am writing this because she has died, you are wrong. She is alive, at 95, with Alzheimer’s. Her bright, creative self, her sly sense of humor, her brilliant mind, are gone. But I was blessed to know her when she was her big tent Jewish mama, and she treated me like a daughter.
I went to see my new primary care doc this week, and the first thing she asked me was, “have you considered using a quad cane?” A QUAD CANE!!! It felt as though she had asked me if I had picked out a headstone yet. … Continue reading When is old?
IT ‘s been a rough couple rough couple rough, I say, rough
been a rough couple of months.
It began with my husband’s elective surgery to repair a major heart valve.
Open heart elective surgery. He was in the cardiac ICU. He began bleeding so badly they had to take him back for open heart surgery again. This time, not elective.
there was a brief stint in rehab, which for some reason he blamed me for. (Anesthetic hangover?)
Then he came home. For ten hours.
That ended when I called 911, shortly after which his eyes rolled back in his head and he stopped breathing.
Back in the ICU, he was diagnosed with pneumonia (definitely not elective).
After some time (it is mostly a blur), he came home, coughing and wheezing. He is still being visited at home 2x a week by the nurse. He also sees a physical therapist at home, and saw an occupational therapist a couple of times.
Suddenly, my beloved standard poodle Billie, began having a nosebleed. Our regular vet came and said she needed to go to the hospital.
She was there two days and was diagnosed with IMT, an auto immune blood disorder. It is serious stuff. She is on Prednisone and a couple of other drugs. If she doesn’t make it, I will die. (Not elective.)
All this time, Donald Trump has been President. I blame him for this.
(he was really non-elective.)
Chicken shit has played a far greater role in my life than I ever imagined.
Darkness will not cover me Nor will I stumble down rabbitholes that lead only to despair. I still have eyes to see horror And ears to hear lamentations; A brain to move aside the curtain where the wizard stands, naked and unmasked. I will count … Continue reading Still Standing