Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I Remember Mama

Irene Dunne as Marta Hanson

Some of you might be familiar with the 1948 movie "I Remember Mama" starring Irene Dunne as the mother of an early 1900's San Francisco Norwegian immigrant family. It is a popular movie for several television channels to show on Mothers Day, and this year was no exception. My brother, thundering36, and I used to kid our own mother about this movie. It will always have a sentimental place in my heart.

I have been extremely busy with work and was unable to post on Mothers Day like I wanted. However, I do have a bit of time today, and to celebrate Mothers Day, albeit a tad late, I'd like to tell you a story about my mother.

It was somewhere around 1970, maybe 1971. It is interesting that thundering36 has no recollection of this, most likely because he had recently graduated from high school and was probably in San Antonio at the time.

My mother found a lump on her breast. She went to her doctor about it and was told that a biopsy would be taken and that she would need to have the lump removed. Now mind you, we are talking about almost 50 years ago. Having breast cancer was a death warrant at that time. The vivid memory I have is of my mother coming home with her coat on and doing everything she could to hold back the tears. Aside of thinking about her own mortality, I'm sure that she was also thinking about how her husband and children would be able to make it without her.

The reaction I had at that time was cold and brutal - my mother may die soon. I remember taking a walk with my younger brother, Danny, and feeling like pretty soon I was going to have some major responsibility for helping him grow up. It was pretty frightening for a guy in junior high.

As things turned out, the lump was removed and was non-cancerous. Years later, I read that a study was done and a correlation was found between women who were bitten by a cat and getting lumps in their breast. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Our cat, Frisky, had bitten my mother sometime before the lump appeared. I have always wondered ...

As my mother was recovering, I remember seeing the cavernous hole in her breast from where the tumor was removed. Yeesh!

Despite this health detour and many, many more along the way, my mother was able to live a long life, finally passing away at 90 years old almost three years ago. How fortunate I was that the difference between cancer and a non-cancerous tumor meant that my mom lived about an extra 45 years. For that, I am very thankful.

Mothers Day, circa 2019, is one of many emotions. My wife is a wonderful mother to our three kids, a dog, two cats, and several fish. Unfortunately, her mother passed away eight months after mine. While we are happy for our life together, there is a certain emptiness that we now have with both sets of parents gone.

If your mother is still alive, I hope you celebrated with her, told her how much you love her, thanked her for all that she had done for you. The day will come when you no longer have that opportunity. You will then have only sweet memories to reflect upon and make you smile when Mothers Day comes.

Thanks for reading!