Sunday, May 10, 2009


Yesterday I wrote two twitfics called A Couple of Three Packs (106) and One Wheel (107). Today I wrote two pieces of flash fiction, Disease Control (108) and The Wind in His Helmet (109).

Today was Mother's Day here in the states. I bought the former wife some flowers and a card and breakfast. I usually wish her mom a happy one as well, but she's somewhere in Trinidad this month and not as available as she usually is.

My own mom died some seventeen years ago from colon cancer. She was fifty-nine years old. She was a good person. Mom had food for anyone who dropped by the house. She didn't like it when one person won everything on Wheel of Fortune. She wanted everyone to win something. She stretched a dollar till it wept to feed a family of seven fattish people. She was the ninth child of Portuguese immigrants. Her father died three months before she was born. When she was a girl she ran with the Girl Scouts for a while and loved it, but she had to drop out when it was time to buy uniforms because the family couldn't afford one.

She was the first person in her family to graduate high school and she worked as as a secretary to a coroner, hovering near the dead as she took shorthand during examinations. She met my Dad at the hospital where she worked. He was a veteran of World War II who had knocked around a bit and was a baker's assistant at the hospital. My uncle introduced them. She saw five kids into adulthood and put up with more crap from all of us (Dad included) than anyone should be asked to. She was very happy about the move to Florida after fifty-four years in New England. She had a pool, she had sunshine.

She brought her sister down to live with them, when her sister could no longer take care of herself. My Aunt Elsie had kidney problems, was on dialysis for years and apparently the medicine she was taking was shrinking her brain. That's what I was told anyway. The result was something very much like Alzheimer's. And mom helped Elsie, took her out, fed her, bathed her when it became necessary, until very close to the end of Elsie's life. It took a lot out of my mom.

Mom had medical issues that I wasn't told about. She beat cancer once, sick from chemotherapy. About a year and a half later it found her again. Her stomach became enormous, she looked pregnant. She wanted to die at home. A hospital bed was set up in my parents' bedroom and my dad took care of her, saw to her every need as she had seen to Elsie's. Mom fell in love with dad for a second time. Just days after my sisters went back home after saying their goodbyes, Mom let go of the struggle. The last time I saw her she was breathing very short and shallow breaths. She was aided by an oxygen tank. I asked her how she was and she said, "Not very good." We talked for a few minutes and I kissed her and told her I loved her which is something I didn't say very often. She died early the next morning after staying up all night talking to my father. My eyes have gotten all wet writing this.

She was born Laura Katherine Nobriga and died at a much too young fifty-nine years old. She loved romance novels and horror movies and loved to sing out loud even though I told her what a bad singer she was all the time. Needless to say I was not a model son, but I loved her and now that I'm a dad I understand that she would have loved me no matter how big a wiener I was. Mom's are great for that.

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