Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

May 4th. Mom would have been 67 today. Here's a picture of her at the park, just last year:

My regimen starts today; the plan is to achieve my fitness goals by Mom's birthday in 2011. I regret not having embarked on this project earlier.

Fort Hunt Park, where the above picture was taken, has acquired an almost sacred meaning for me. I walked hand-in-hand with Mom many times there. In the early stages of her brain cancer, after her initial surgeries, she was able to talk a little, and sometimes we would have simple exchanges. As time went on, and she talked less and less, I took up the slack and did the talking. Quite often, a third person would be there-- usually Dad or one of my brothers. Mom's strength often varied depending on the meds she was taking; certain medicines, like Decadron, weakened her muscles. Her knees buckled a few times as a result, and we did our best to catch her, even though we weren't always successful. After every walk, before we got back into the car, we made a point of hugging Mom, congratulating her for making an effort to exercise, and thanking her for the simple, precious gift of her presence and time.

Our walks last year went on for several months-- through late spring, summer, and part of the fall, until it got too cold. So yes, the park has new significance for me. My mother's tentative footsteps blessed its soil, sanctified its grass, beatified its paths.

And now it's 6:20AM, and I need to go do some biking at that selfsame park. Maybe the park will consent to being my coach-- to helping me exercise the way it helped Mom.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.



  1. I'm not sure what the proper greeting is to mark such a bittersweet occasion. It sounds like you've chosen an apt way to mark the day.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Lorianne. Lots of tears yesterday as I watched the slide slow over at my other blog. Letting go is hard. What's funny is that I spent so many years repudiating Mom's help and instruction while she was alive, all in an effort to assert my own independence. Now that she's gone, I'm filled with regret for having been that way.

    Have you ever heard the Korean fairy tale about the bad frog? I'm sure you can find it online somewhere. Quite often during Mom's illness, and even more after she died, I found myself comparing my behavior to that of the bad frog.



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