Today is my mom’s birthday and I’m burning a candle for her.
Ever since she died nine years ago, I’ve had a much better relationship with her. I read somewhere that the relationship you have with your mom is in your head, not in any temporal or objective reality. So now that she’s gone, I finally feel loved by her. I feel tenderness toward her, instead of fear or anger. I forgive her.
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she was told she had six months to live. My sister and I got hospice care for her, because she wanted to die in her own bed.
A couple of times, she asked me to help kill her. Each time, I explained that I just couldn’t consider it. I did what I could to provide comfort. My sister and I often spent the night with her, and we tried to conceal our anxiety and grief. She declined over the six months, becoming delusional at times and suspecting us of hiring fake rabbis or switching her drinking glass. Near the end, I chewed up food for her and fed it to her like a baby bird.
Finally, the last morning arrived and her beautiful Jamaican nurse called us to hurry over to say goodbye. Her death throes were terrifying and unbearable to watch, but we had to bear it. My sister and I each held one of her hands as she died. The nurse recited the Lord’s Prayer. My sister sobbed hysterically throughout.
Afterwards, we sat in my mom’s bedroom, paralyzed with shock. Other family members arrived. I turned around in my chair and opened a drawer, not really thinking about what I was doing. In the drawer was her will, and nothing else.
I picked up the will and read the first line aloud. “I, _________, being of sound mind, hereby exclude my two daughters from this will. I do so deliberately, and should they contest it, they will receive not more than one dollar each.”
Mom, you were a funny one. Happy birthday.