Yes, Gentle Friends, it’s Tuesday. And I am grateful for it.
Unless something catastrophic happens in the next couple of days, I will be celebrating one birthday more than my mother had when she was on this side. I feel as if I have broken an unintended curse laid on me by well meaning but ignorant relatives who expected me to be her all over again and fill the deep shadow left by her departure. Yes, I look like her. Yes, I inherited her spiritual streak, her love for animals, and when all is said and done, I hope that I will be remembered for being as compassionate and tolerant as she was, even just a fraction of such.
Over and over again, the relatives on her side chanted, “You’re just like your mother.” At the least, irritating and a factor in why I went away to school. At the most, wondering if I had value beyond being a shrine to her while struggling with the great fear in my soul of dying unexpectedly as she had in what are supposed to be the best years of my life. For many years, part of me wondered if I would make it to that magic day that marked a year beyond what she had in this life.
Mom was one of the estimated thirty percent of people with cardiovascular disease who didn’t know they had it until they have a fatal heart attack. The smoking, the stress of dealing with my dad’s four heart attacks in nine months, and the high-estrogen birth control pills to hold menopausal symptoms at bay conspired against her.
I did learn from her, though. I smoked one experimental cigarette, and that was it. I went off The Pill to another form of contraception. I meditate and exercise to control stress, and do acupuncture to control the midlife lady issues. In addition, I’m on track to get back to a healthy weight.
So some hours out from the start of the next trip around the sun, I feel pretty confident that I will be here for many years to come.