Tell me a story
People often tell me about their aunt, friend, cousin, sister who died of breast cancer. It doesn’t jar me the way other things do. I know 40,000 women die every year from BC, I am bound to meet their friends and family along the way.
A more unsettling encounter, for me, is with children who lost their moms. I mentioned a few months ago about an Anna Quinlen interview. Yesterday I read an interview with Rosie O’Donnell. She lost her mom to breast cancer, and once again has little memory of her. She was 9 years old, older than both of my children. This digs at my underlying fear that I am going to one day be just a story they tell their college roommate.
When a good friend’s brother died, her first baby was born soon after. She made her brother’s name, the baby’s middle name. I remember saying to her ” It’s strange to think 20 years from now, he will explain to a girl, at a party, that his middle name is after his uncle who he never got to meet”
I guess we all just become a collection of stories and pictures, eventually. It’s difficult to think the most painful story my kids may need to tell is about me. But when I try to bargain and ask for more time, I never know what age to ask for. Ok, I definitely remember my parents when I was in high school. Or do I? I mostly remember listening to Duran Duran and INXS. I do remember when my dad was diagnosed with MS and being lost in Chicago. So maybe it’s music and traumatic experiences that stand out. So we’ve got the music covered, I sing to them most nights. And well, traumatic stuff, I’m hoping we’ve hit our quota.
For now, I will continue to tell them bad jokes, help them with their homework and sing Bohemian Rhapsody to them, because it’s part of my story, as their mom.