Posts Tagged ‘mom memoir’

If You Knew Suzy

April 19, 2010

I just finished a book by a writer who lost her mother to cancer. Reading it, I felt like I could have written it. I found myself nodding in agreement of certain maternal descriptions and shaking my head to others.

If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Reporter’s Notebook by Katherine Rosman is a daughter’s discovery and reflection surrounding her mother’s ultimately fatal fight with lung cancer. Katherine tracks down people who both influenced her mother and those whom her mom influenced. There were no great epiphanies but I imagine closure for the author.


Mom Memoir

May 4, 2009

I’m working on some pieces about my mom which are very cathartic. Hopefully some will see the light of day in a publication like the NY Times.

Here is the most current one: (comments welcomed)

A 60 year old Jewish woman goes to India, sounds like the beginning of a joke but it’s the story of my mom’s last vacation. A world traveler, mom was fascinated with India and since her first trip a decade earlier she managed to return once or twice a year under the guise of business. She often dragged me along on these trips. After spending a several days buying jewelry we’d venture somewhere new in the neighborhood. Some of the places we visited for bragging rights. How satisfying it was to read an article in the travel section about Bhutan and think how it had changed since we visited.

The flight on Kuwaiti Air that allowed smoking and prohibited alcohol, the extra days we were forced to spend in Havana because of a hurricane where she reused her dental floss, the traveler we picked up in Guatemala, hitchhiker who didn’t speak English in Israel, the baseball cap we swapped for a jewelry box in the High Atlas Mountains, a cruise in Myanmar with Sydney Pollack, the crossword puzzles we did on yet another walking tour in the Galapagos, a visit to Marrakech during Ramadan, the discovery of the same shirt she bought at Saks on sale in Katmandu, the concealing of cheese into Grand Cayman, cigars from Cuba, jewelry from India, we always had an adventure.

Then we started having health adventures, but because her condition seemed to improve, they too became anecdotes. Remember when the staples fell out from my hysterectomy and I had to have emergency surgery on Oscar night? All I wanted to know was who won Best Picture. We’d laugh and comment how scary it was for a few moments.
I was not scared when my mom first checked into the hospital in Cochin, India. After a few days I asked her if was enough. She was in a 1940’s style hospital where the staff was so nice and incompetent. The cooperative hotel manager where she stayed sent over food, a specialist from another city visited, the nurses who had to be told to wash their hands made for a noteworthy experience.

As the pain of losing my mom dulls I think back to her final weeks in hospitals in India. One day she was worried about having her airline miles reinstated and the next she’s too weak to ask the doctors what they medicine they are administering. There’s the uncertainty of the quality of care she received, the conflicting theories of her New York doctors, and her diagnosis. I don’t know if it was a heart attack like her death certificate listed, the stage four cancer, an infection, pneumonia or combination of any of the above.
Now when people ask me how my mom died, it’s yet another story. Anyone can die in New York, but I died in India with an air ambulance waiting for me on the tarmac, she would have said.