Happy Birthday, Ma!

Today is my Mom’s (Ma’s) 98th birthday. Hard to believe. I don’t see her as being any older than when I was in my twenties.  She would have been in her 50s then.  She was one of those women who never aged.  While her body was ravaged with cancer, three times, acute asthma and emphysema, COPD, osteoporosis, colitis, PAD, and congestive heart failure, her mind stayed young and alive.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.  Not a day, that I don’t talk to her, about her.  She is with me always, in mind and spirit.  Sometimes I hear her laugh or telling me something like “Belinda, don’t burn the garlic.” My mother was larger than life, so to expect that pulsating ball of energy to just disappear would be ludicrous. She just keeps on rolling.

She was Linda, and I, Belinda.  Appropriate. All I ever wanted to do was “be Linda.” Be that beautiful person, who would light up a room as soon as she walked in.  Be that person, whose warmth and love would still be in the room, when she departed.  Be that person, whose overwhelming love of life would carry her through heartache and illness with an upright stance and smile on her face, even when she was bent over, almost crippled with osteoporosis. And all she ever wanted to be, was me.

I was all, am all, she could not be.  I used to drive her nuts, scare her to death and completely adore her. Because of her, I was educated scholastically and worldly, I was completely independent and I was a successful business woman. All those things she could not be, but did not need. She was just so much more, she was Linda.

I’ve heard, so many times, women say, “Oy, you’re becoming your mother,” like that’s a bad thing.  I can only hope to be half of what she was.  She had an “open door” policy.  The door was open, c’mon in.  I swear, people came to the house, just to be in her presence.  They used to call it the “Health Farm.”  If you felt like crap when you walked in, you felt rejuvenated when you walked out.  There was always a sandwich, or bread and cheese, or her magnificent home made cookies, a cup of coffee (brown or black), tea or glass of wine. There was always a loving ear to bend and the advice of nothing less than the sage of times.

I’m told that I sound just like her.  Off to a good start, but since I’m only half of her, half is what I’ll have to settle for. And, I’ll have to work a little harder to get there. So, Happy Birthday, Ma! I love you.

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