Today I looked through a jump drive my mother gave me a few years ago to use for a class. I’d just gotten the MacBook Pro I’m currently typing this post, and I was using that and the jump drive to save my work.
Today, I looked through it to find a NaNo novel I may have saved; instead I came across an essay my mother typed for an English Comp & Lit class back in 2003. It was titled “THE MEMOIR”, and told my mother’s recount of caring for her second child, a boy named Marcus, who was diagnosed to be “severely retarded”.
It surprised me to not only see an essay by my mother written so well, but to see her feelings and experience with more depth through her words. I saw her experience with my brother through her eyes, which was mind-blowing, because I’d barely seen that side of her for the past 28 years, even after her stroke in late 2009.
There’s a moment in the essay where my mother takes Marcus, my second oldest brother, to a doctor’s appointment and briefly meets a middle-aged couple there with fraternal twin infants. As the mother goes in with one of the infants, mom strikes up a conversation with the father. They exchange experiences of living with children with disabilities, leading up to a blood-curdling scream audible from another part of the building. The mother of the twins had found out the female twin, aside from the male, was also diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.
As she describes her experience in more detail, I’m getting more of a sense of who my brother was. I was three when he died, which wasn’t enough time to get to know him. He was mentally retarded, but he did live longer than the life expectancy of children with CF, which he was lucky not to have.
He managed to live up to the age of 19, when lymphoma took him. My mom got the phone call any parent with a sick child dreads, yet through her immense heartbreak in that moment, she dressed and made her way to the hospital to “say goodbye to my valiant trooper”.
it’s a great insight into my mother’s world pre-stroke, as well as a glimpse into my late brother’s life. I’m glad I came across this piece, and I’ll have to print it out for her to read. I will ask her if she’d like me to post it, considering I don’t want to post the whole thing without her permission.
I’m also more appreciative of the gift of writing I got through her. She’s quite talented, and I couldn’t help but think how great a novelist she would’ve (and could) make. I’m a lucky lady to have such a wonderful mother!