Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bea's Journal (3)

“I love you,” I say, tucking Bea in after dinner.

The lights are all on, per her request. Suddenly, she is afraid of the dark.

“We’re related, aren’t we?” Bea asks as I caress her brow.

“We are. You’re my mother.”

“I was thinking that I am going to die in a few days. I need to look at the calendar. After all, I am 103.”

“103? No, just 96. 97. That’s old enough!”

Her comment makes me think about the day we met, the day I was born. Bea has left us her recollections, put down on paper May 9, 1999:

“This is Mother’s Day and I am all alone! My daughter gave me a beautiful gray cashmere sweater before she left to be with her daughters in Cambridge.

I am now 89 ½ and can hardly believe it. But there are aging encounters to remind me: I have lost the vision in my right eye as the result of a TIA. Also, I have arthritis in my knees – mainly the left knee. But a heating pad helps, as does distraction. I have a need to write, to express my frustration that I am very alone with my 97-year-old husband having returned to his bed.

Shall I call to my own mind what it was like to create my own first child and, nearly 10 months later, deliver her?

The labor, for one of 37, was excessive. I remember that wonderful woman obstetrician, Dr. Jean Corwin, who helped me.

It really felt like an impossibility when the delivery time came. Dr. Corwin had said, “The baby knows when it’s cooked.” Well, those pelvic bones did not want to cooperate.

“Put your feet on my shoulders,” said Dr. Corwin. Somehow it helped and on September 7, 1949, I delivered a daughter who is now thrice a mother.”

I regret not having celebrated Mother’s Day more sequentially throughout Bea’s life.

What a gift to give someone life! Unfortunately, most people take the bond created at birth for granted ...

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