50 Years

At my mother’s funeral service various relatives and friends went to the podium to speak about my mother and what she meant to them. One of the speakers gave a great speech about how marvelously heroic she had been in having to deal with such a difficult challenge in her life, the monumental challenge of being a mother who was so greatly burdened with a disabled child. They went on about how she had so very, very bravely triumphed in this enormously difficult super-test given her because of her crippled, chronically ill, and ever so burdensome daughter. That monumentally burdensome challenge would be me.

It’s like, “Hey, I’m sitting right here. The crippled burden isn’t deaf. She has ears.” Hmmm. It’s not exactly the first time this manner of accusational burden description pertaining to my role in other people’s lives has occurred. No one hates nor berates you half as much as you do yourself. Erica Jong had it right with this one.

(I had to laugh right out loud when rereading this incredibly hilarious ‘poor me’ rendition of an untraditional burden story. Gimme a break.)

So the first memory of it was this: I was standing on a small dirt bluff that ran alongside a field down from my home on Mono Avenue. I stopped and bent down to examine my big toe because it really, really hurt. And it was swollen, very swollen.

The next memory was of myself standing in my parent’s bedroom telling my mom and dad that I didn’t feel well. Suddenly and without warning my knobby, little knees gave out and I collapsed on the floor, crying and wide-eyed with fear.

After that my life was never the same. Everything changed forever. Wonderful, talented, likable, and sometimes envied Mazie was about to learn what it meant to be dismantled by nine year olds and the medical establishment of 1963.

To clarify: My mother really did have it hard and her life was very difficult because of having a disabled child. I give her great credit and infinite gratitude for having been there for me throughout those long, difficult years.

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