Family Matters


Recovering Together: An Ailing Mother Comes to the Aid of Her Son


“I have a ‘mother’ concern, Dr. Bromberg.”

My oncologist and I were sitting in her office at the Breast Center of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, where we’d just covered all the details of my upcoming chemotherapy treatment. It was late, 9:30 p.m., and I had her undivided attention. “My son is having open-heart surgery in May for a congenital heart defect,” I said. “I have to work out my chemo schedule so I can be with him in St. Louis.”

“Absolutely,” she said.

My 31-year-old son, Dave, had assured me he wouldn’t need his dad or me to be with him during his hospitalization: his friends would help with picking up food and anything else he needed. While his dad bought into the “I’ll be fine” line, there was no way I would. How could the two of them believe that Dave wouldn’t need his parents? I was going.

Finally, he relented. “You can come, Moo, but only to give me emotional support.” Then, as the date drew closer, he asked if I’d also walk and feed his black pug, Izzy. It seemed like a good sign.

Four months earlier, while I’d been fervently researching treatment for my breast cancer, Dave had been doing the same for his condition. A month after that, he’d called to break the news: “Moo, be calm. My cardiologist told me I need heart surgery again to replace my aortic valve.” Oh, God! Dave needs me to be calm, and I’m scheduled to have a mastectomy next month. For his sake, I mimicked serenity. Underneath, my heart was…

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12 Comments

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 3:10:05 PM | posted by Glenn Wolff
This piece is so well written, showing how a mother's love is constant and unyielding and how a son's love for his mother is always needed. Great piece of writing that left me in tears of hope and wonder. Thank you Rachel for sharing this personal and heartfelt story.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 3:45:28 PM | posted by Roberta Sanjour
What a courageous story of a mother's love and devotion while she struggles with not only her own serious condition but the delicate dance of caring for an adult child. The description of her son's surgery and what he had to endure was quite powerful and heartfelt. A very beautiful and moving piece.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 4:13:22 PM | posted by John Silvestre
Fabulously written experiential account of the emotional subtleties of a mother's love for an adult son while both are struggling with illness! I was struck by tears towards the end of this piece! It touches the unspoken feelings of parental love with tenderness and respect !
Thanks for writing it, Rachel!
John Silvestre

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 5:32:56 PM | posted by Mark Banschick
Roberta,
Life is so very fragile. Often, the best that we have is the courage and dignity to live it on its terms.

This story speaks to the best in us.
A mother and her son - love, illness, treatment and healing.

I am moved...and you guys are lucky to have each other.

Thank You,

Mark

Thursday, March 15, 2012 3:45:46 AM | posted by Mary J Giuffra
Roberta,
You touched my heart still again! Truly, love and presence with a dollop of common sense, family support and a little humor help us get through those scary times. You are an inspiration and I feel honored to know you.
Love, Mary Giuffra

Thursday, March 15, 2012 4:19:53 AM | posted by Robin
I am awed by your love that is endless, unconditional, priceless and unstoppable. What a blessing you are to each other. May you completely heal your hearts together and share your love with many others. Roberta, you are truly a blessing on this earth. I have never known anyone to love others so completely as you do. God bless you both. Love,
Robin

Friday, March 16, 2012 12:25:47 AM | posted by Nancy
This is a very moving, lovely, heartfelt account of the shared trials and tribulations of mother, and her adult son. The writing is so descriptive and vivid that I felt like I could imagine the various scenes. Very uplifting and upbeat, with no signs of self-pity. Really wonderful.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 6:26:43 PM | posted by Janet Press
Heart felt and deeply moving

Thank you for sharing

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 5:26:57 PM | posted by Ruth Greer
Roberta- How little we know about one another and our personal struggles. Your courage and love are remarkable and your sensitivity and empathy in the face of your own vulnerability an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. Ruth Greer

Friday, March 23, 2012 2:24:27 AM | posted by Rhonda A
Extremely well written story. You are a terrific mother. You provided your adult son, Dave, the exact amount of space, respect, love and support that he needed before, during and after the surgery. He is very lucky to have you as his mother, but it sounds like that if he didn't know that before, he definitely realizes it now.

Friday, May 4, 2012 4:18:04 PM | posted by brenda
You touched the part of me as a mother who is both immensely proud of her very independant daughter; while wishing she needed me more; and Knowing she needs me anyway....ah the joys and confusion of motherhood! Wish you both well!

Thursday, September 27, 2012 9:50:43 PM | posted by Todd
I pay a visit daily a few web pages and sites to read posts, but this webpage presents quality based content.

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