Sometimes people ask if I am mad at her since she insisted more than anyone else that I did not have MS. That's not true, by the way. Nobody would be so rude as to ask me if I am mad at her, but I ask myself that a lot and pretend somebody else brought it up. Because the truth is, I am furious with her. For years I told her I had symptoms. Tingling. A tight band around my torso. My foot stumbled sometimes and she said no, that's not even what foot drop looks like. She was a nurse, a really great, well-respected nurse, plus her husband had MS, so she should know, right? To her credit, we went to the doctor. Doctors. They also said I didn't have MS, so more and more I relied on my mom to allay my fear. I don't have it, right mom? Except late nights I would actually call her mommy, all guttural and please make it go away, curled up on the couch while everyone else slept. Of course not, she would say, silly, she would say. You have to stop this. Sometimes she would get exasperated with me and say my name Susannah! in the way that only she said it, a hint of southern accent and just her.
My mom was always right. Part actually always right, extremely intelligent and perceptive, part just had to be right, no matter what. Once I told her that she just didn't want me to have MS because I was her daughter and she loved me, so of course she didn't think I did, and she got so mad at me. If I thought for one second that you had MS I would have them do every test there was on you! The same women who called the president of my college to get me the classes that I wanted, so I believed her.
I believed her.
8 months after she died I was finally diagnosed, and I can't help but wonder what her reaction would have been. Would she have admitted being wrong? Would she have apologized? Would she have said my name any differently? Of course, of course and no, although all three would have been a first. Because you didn't know my mom. In some ways, I don't know my mom. She was so busy being magical that at times she did not seem real. She was the best, most beautiful, smartest, funniest, wackiest, and yet she would go silent, almost reverent, whenever she traced her fingers down the inside of my arm. What would she have done when I was diagnosed? Would she be here with me in Tel Aviv? Would she help me pick apart the counts of lymphocytes, granulocytes and neutrophils? Or would she just stroke the inside of my arm?
I will never know and I am mad at her for that. For a lot. Maybe it's not fair, but come on, none of this is fair. It's just a fucked up story in a world of fucked up stories, but it's mine and I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to make sense of it. Or trying to ignore it. Either way.
|I know I've shown this photo before, but I only have so many.|