Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'd really rather write about the fact that George Gershwin was 38 years old when he died but had already made an indelible mark on American music. I'd rather write about the SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Plan) bill that President Obama just signed. The wonders of modern antibiotics, the color of the sunset tonight, the white cows that escaped into the dun colored pasture across the river (I followed their hoofprints tonight in the half-light of dusk).

My mother, who is 58, had two cardiac stents placed this afternoon. She'd gone to the emergency room late last night after two days with chest pain. There are a total of 4 partial blockages in her arteries. Tomorrow the cardiologist will decide whether 2 more stents will need to be placed. Given the possibilities for disaster, this is really pretty good news. I just didn't expect the collision with heart disease to happen so soon. However, if she takes her cardiac rehab seriously she should have many relatively healthy years ahead of her.

My relationship with my mother has always been difficult. I don't think I've ever left that adolescent same-sex separation stage. My mother has never had anything but unconditional love for all of her children and grandchildren, really for just about everyone around her (except my father, but that's a totally different story). I, on the other hand, love my mother but often wish she was a different person. A more responsible, more energetic, more together mother. I'm sure I seem to her odd, and cold, and hard. But she loves me anyway for being her odd, cold child. Our arguments haven't begun because she was pushing me. They happened because I was pushing her. Now I'm faced with the fact of her mortality. I don't care for that idea at all.

I called a friend tonight to talk about all of this. Her mother has recently moved back in with her at age 87 with all the mother-daughter baggage. My friend has been practicing buddhism for many years and reminded me of the impermanence of everything, including those we love. I'm pushing back hard against that pillar. This, I suppose, is a natural reaction. We think that by holding on tighter to the things we care for that we'll get to keep them. We're greedy. The more we kick and scream, well we just kick and scream. It doesn't change impermanence. I don't like that either.

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