Two days before Mother's Day, I was in my mom's kitchen sipping a cup of tea, thinking about how to spend to big fat check my mom had offered to write for me. Mom had recently come into a chunk of money, an inheritance from a childless uncle. A couple months ago, shortly after Uncle Paul died, she'd offered to help us out with a remodeling project with, I'd thought, a sizable loan. As I sat in Mom's kitchen, though, she explained that it would be a gift, not a loan, "because I don't think you'll be around to enjoy an inheritance from me." As she said this, I saw her eyes get watery and pinkish, and I realized that Mom was under the impression that multiple sclerosis would cause my death at a tragically young age.
I assured Mom that I had every intention of living to a ripe old age, that MS doesn't kill people. I know this because I have read the pamphlets from the MS Society. I also, however, know that this statement, while technically correct, is not quite the whole truth. Fortunately, though, Mom wasn't a big Richard Pryor fan, so I didn't have to tell the whole truth which, I guess, is more or less that people with MS don't live quite as long as the rest of the population.
For the last several years, Mother's Day has been less about paying tribute to Mom and more about meditating on my dysfunctional relationship with her, and thinking about the extent to which that might be my fault. Mom lives about a half hour away from me, but it had been weeks since I last saw her.
technorati tag: multiple sclerosis