Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom would have turned 75 years old today. We had been talking about a birthday party, either in SF or at her house in Napa. I offered to rent a beach house where she could see the ocean from the sofa. In the weeks before she suffered her final health crisis, she hesitated to make any plans.

Among many things, it’s the unfulfilled plans that make me the saddest. She had wanted to join me and our friends in the Azores in Fall of 2010, but she was still recovering from knee surgery and didn’t feel mobile enough yet. The symptoms of bladder cancer came just before Christmas that year. She had hoped to return to the Azores in spring of 2011, but with the diagnosis of cancer came the removal of her kidney. She still wanted to take another Alaskan cruise. But she never recovered the energy that would have made it enjoyable. We talked about planting this summer’s tomatoes and beans. Even in the hospital the morning of her surgery on January 27, she said she would need to call the housekeeper to have her come while she was recovering. By then she was getting a little confused, a result of the powerful pain medication. But she was still planning on returning home and recovering from surgery, at least to some degree.

Although it’s hard to say that anyone is really “ready” to go, I feel my mom was definitely not ready. We talked about this time, and I know she thought about it. But it was theoretical, not real, not immediate, not imminent. Not done.

She deserved more time.



A helicopter ride over Hawaii's volcanoes for mom's 70th birthday.
A helicopter ride over Hawaii’s volcanoes for mom’s 70th birthday.


2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Mom”

  1. Thought about you and your mom all day today Em. I hope you were able to make it out to the beach and that it brought some peace. I will always think of your mom on Valentine’s Day. Eventually, it won’t feel so sad to do so. I remember sitting with her just after Christmas, laughing and talking about the cruise. I thought, “If anyone can make it happen, it’s Maria.” I wish she had been given the time. She deserved it.

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