It didn’t look good a year ago.
Mom had had a serious bout of congestive heart failure for most of the spring that led to her having a pacemaker installed in May.
Her right hip was hurting her so badly that every step hurt. A lot.
She needed 12 hours of care day.
Fast forward a year to today.
Mom’s heart is working much better.
She’s recovered from her hip replacement.
She’s spending more and more time in the pool, and working diligently so that she can attend Mike’s wedding in San Francisco in October by herself.
Her growth is both a tribute to the power of modern medicine and to her considerable will, determination and willingness to follow instructions on the path to healing.
It is precisely because of the difficulties that Mom has experienced during the past year that I am particularly grateful on this day, her 74th birthday.
But the truth is that I feel the pleasure and gratitude each morning, when we have our daily chat while I’m getting ready to go work.
They don’t last too long, and sometimes we miss a day.
But it is always a pleasure to dial the same number she’s had my whole life, listen to her answer, “Hi, sweetie,” and spend a few minutes talking about the day behind and the one ahead, listening to the latest dramas in each other’s lives, laughing at life’s occasional absurdities and generally savoring the gift of each other’s company.
It’s important to note that Dunreith began Mom’s birthday celebration for this year on Sunday, when she took her to Legal’s Sea Foods, her favorite restaurant that has served clam chowder at presidential inaugurations for the past 30 years.
My contribution was ordering a beautiful bouquet of flowers from KaBloom that the man delivered. Unfortunately, Mom’s allergies, which had been dormant, kicked in, and so Marie went home with the arrangement-a fact that saddened. Still, she knew the thought and the love was there, and, when I suggested that we simply send her nothing living in the future, she issued one of her inimitable socially unconscious laughs disguised as a roar.
Nothing but love for Mom, aka Esther Freia Gittel Adelman Lowenstein, on her birthday, and nothing but appreciation for this and every day we share.