Sunday, October 23, 2011
An Anniversary, Unobserved
October 18th would have been my parents' 58th wedding anniversary, had my mother not died on the Ides of March 2003, five months before her 70th birthday and seven months before their 50th anniversary. Hers was a preventable death - nobody with an education and a middle-class income really has to get adult-onset diabetes and die from its complications. She survived breast cancer and an unrelated tongue cancer (highly ironic as she was a psychotherapist - and that irony was not lost on her). Cancer is a disease that you go to doctors for, and they do things to you to fix it - surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, although thankfully she only had to endure the first two. I have come to think of type II diabetes in adults as the disease of self-love, as the result of unresolved anger and self-loathing, especially among women. To a large extent, it is something you do to yourself. I am not blaming the victim here - I do not think it has anything to do with lack of will or discipline, or any kind of moral deficiency. I think it is a way that women kill themselves, slowly.
This is hardly an earth-shaking conclusion - FlyLady has spoken very eloquently about the connection between depression and self-care, or lack thereof. I must confess, with shame, that I don't know enough about my mother's life to be able to speak with any kind of confidence about the reasons she did not take good care of herself. There was much anger - about choices she could not make as a young woman, about neglectful parents and children who could not fix that need, about babies who died and an adopted child whose own terrible void no one could fill. Her marriage with my father had its ups and downs about which I am certainly not qualified to speak, and I would not breach his privacy here if I could.
I started writing this blog post on October 18th. Between the Jewish holidays (now over until the spring, thank G-d) and the difficulty I am having with these thoughts, it has taken this long for me to write two paragraphs. I think I will stop now, and possibly continue this theme in a series of posts. For one thing, I need to disentangle my own anger at her no longer being here for me and my children, from my thoughts about type II diabetes. I know I've used strong words about it, and I think it is a debate worth having.
I would love to know what you think, so far.