Today my mom turns 74. Twenty-five years ago she started having trouble with her heart. I came home from going to school in Stuttgart to find her on a Holter monitor. In 1998 she had a heart attack (probably more than one - she put off going to the doctor, and chalked the pain up to indigestion). Three years ago she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and given two to five years to live. A year ago she was in such bad shape that when I went of visit her over spring break she spent most of her time lying down, to weak to even sit up, and I spent most of my time crying.
She always thought she would die young, certainly before my dad, even though he was 12 years older. He's been gone for more than five years.
It turned out that a lot of her recent weakness was being caused by rhabdomyolysis, a rare side effect of being on statins. She's so much better! She still has congestive heart failure, she still won't live to be 100, but it's a blessing to have her in my life.
So, here are a few things I love about my mom:
- She loves books and when I was a kid didn't care if I read what she read. So I was reading The French Lieutenant's Woman in 6th grade.
- She loves to laugh. Especially at herself.
- She is always reaching out, even to those that others shun. I can remember some really weird guests at Thanksgiving (old guy with no teeth), and currently she regularly visits the nursing home. She loves the stories people tell.
- She is deeply spiritual. Those of you who've asked for prayers have usually gotten my mom's as well.
- She changes! She is willing to change her mind and change her behavior.
- She does the unexpected. A few times when I've been the most mopey, she has laughed at me and helped me realize that I'm too self-focused. She loves The Sun magazine (the literary one, not the tabloid one), and while it's hard to imagine my mom reading about transgendered folks, or people writing about their drug addictions, or Buddhism, she does - and shares it with her friends. She has also fallen in love, another surprise.
- She loves me. I think I had to have Teen before I realized how deep a mother's love is. It's limitless.
So happy birthday, Nora!