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  • Today is my mother's birthday.

    She was 83 when she died. She had dementia, probably Alzheimer's.

    Before she died, before she got sick, she was an loving, intelligent, articulate woman. Brave and stoic.


    One day, while mowing the lawn, she reached down to clear a clog from the lawn mower and neglected to turn it off first. She cut off three of her fingers.

    She was home alone.

    She gather up her fingers, put them on ice, and drove herself to the hospital in a standard (manual) transmission car.

    The fingers were reattached. They were slightly bent and scarred. Eventually, I could no longer determine even which hand was hurt, as both hands became gnarled with arthritis and other injuries.

    I was already an adult, had left home to live on my own, and had children when this happened.

    As she forgot her life, further and backwards, she forgot her injury and her bravery. I found it difficult to accept and bear this loss, which, though one among many, seemed sorrowful to me.


    The pictures shown above were taken near the end of my mother's life. She was beautiful when she was younger.

    She had a brain tumor, a meningioma, the same tumor I have now, on the same side. Mine is the size of a largish marble--hers grew to the size of a lemon. These pictures show her before and after the operation to remove the tumor. She never fully recovered. They are not in chronological order. In the one in the bottom left, she is wearing a wig. Also shown are my brothers and their wives (and me).

    She loved to swim, to be silly, to have fun, to paint, to tell stories. She was afraid of computers and sharks.

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