Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would be my mother's birthday. She was 28 years old when I was born, which would make her 95 if she were still alive. Nobody in my family ever lived to 95. They were heavy smoking, hard drinking New Englanders, and most of them died in their 70s of heart disease or stroke.

I will most likely die of stroke. I carry the high cholesterol RNA, the artery-hardening strands of genetic material that takes us down when we least expect it. It actually gives me a great deal of comfort to think about dying that way; certainly better than wasting away a day at a time, peeing my pants, my mind moving in and out of some goofy mental fog.

Several of my sisters are elderly and it's both a joy and a frustration to try to follow the mental trail of breadcrumbs their minds leave behind. The other breadcrumbs I just sweep up, trying to get to them before they're ground into the wood floors. When you age you don't see so well, don't hear so well, don't remember so well, and the powers of observation deteriorate along with everything else.

I can see it in myself to a lesser extent, but I am twenty years younger than they are. I have lots of time to deteriorate.

My mother didn't want to be buried when she died. It wasn't the coffin so much as she didn't want any one place to mark her passing. She wanted cremation with the ashes scattered by the funeral home, so I would never know where she was. "If you want to remember me, put a vase of flowers on the mantle on my birthday." she said.

I've done that some years. But while I went along with the cremation idea, I scattered her ashes myself. The oceans of the world mark her passing. Any beach will do as the place I visit to remember her.
Since I can't get to the beach today (I'm supper cook) I may get some flowers. Happy Birthday Mom.

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