Friday, October 24, 2008

Open Season on Moms

It's breast cancer time again. Last week one of the moms in my outer circle was diagnosed. She's more than an acquaintance, less than a friend, someone I'll cook dinner for but won't visit in the hospital. Still, it reverberates in our community--her son is in M's class; my good friend L is her good friend--and most of all it is terrible for them.

Yesterday a mom in City died after ten years of breast cancer. I don't know her, never even heard of her till yesterday when she died, but she was the oldest friend of someone I work with, who told me, and then it turns out that my old friend T is her rabbi, which means she must know R and R, and she lives on R and E's street, and her kids go to school with A's kids, and it feels like I must have come this close to knowing her.

But the closeness of unknown ties doesn't matter. What matters is the story that makes me cry every time I think about it: her 12-year-old daughter's bat mitzvah was supposed to be this Saturday, but she didn't think she would make it, and she could no longer leave the house, so they had it at home last Saturday. I saw pictures--of the beautiful, dressed-up daughter holding the torah, of her standing by her daughter, gaunt, hatted, beaming with with love and joy. She died yesterday morning. They have cancelled tomorrow's bat mitzvah events. The funeral is Sunday.

Tomorrow M will go to J's bat mitzvah. It's a morning service. I'll go with her, because I like J's mother C (and I'm so grateful to her for not inviting us all to the party!). I'll watch C on the bima, beaming with love and joy. In the evening, M will go with A to J's fancy hotel party, her first bat mitzvah party on her own. A's mom, L, will drive them there; I will pick them up.

We are all--mothers, daughters--so incredibly lucky to have what we have.

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