Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is March 1st. It’s my mother’s birthday. Too bad she won’t be around to celebrate it with us. She died of lung cancer in 2003. Really it was the cigarettes. When you smoke four packs a day, that shit happens. It’s a personal choice.

Mom amy kimi This is my mom with my two daughters. When the redhead was born, she called to let me know she’d be coming to meet her the next day. I told her we were a little busy. She told me to STFU and hung up.

The next day she was holding her granddaughter and said to me, “There’s a great song for Amy.” I said, “Yeah, Amie…what you gonna do?” She looked at me like I was nuts and said, “Once in Love with Amy.” She was right but cmon mom…you don’t know about Pure Prairie League?

steve and eydie These guys are Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Eydie died last year. My parents loved them. Don’t ask me why. They once went to Las Vegas just to see their show. Don’t ask me why.

When they returned, I was visiting and asked her how was the show? “It was wonderful. Best show we’ve ever seen!” I told her, “Guess you’ve never seen Led Zeppelin on acid.” She snickered and left.

Dodge convertible This is what her car looked like. She owned it from 1983 until she died. The license plate said Mitzvah. It was her first and last car. Twenty years…less than 100,000 miles.

One time I was visiting her in Palm Desert. I ran into her at the grocery store. She was riding one of those little cars. When I was done laughing, I walked up to her and we bought groceries for the weekend. When we left, she got into her car at the same time as three other seniors citizens. None of them made the first move. I watched for five minutes and had a choice. I could direct traffic or leave. I left. Fifteen minutes later she walked into the house. She lived two minutes away.

Her final birthday was on this date of 2003. We had known about the cancer for a few months. Everyone knew it was the final one. I decided to go down and visit. San Diego in late February/early March…winner winner chicken dinner.

The day after the birthday, she mentions that she has an appointment with a famous oncologist, in Santa Monica, later in the week. Can I stick around to take her? We can go for sushi afterwards. San Diego/Santa Monica in early March? Winner Winner…yada, yada, yada.

My other bro from Chicago is sticking around to come along. We Moore boys are no fools.

s monica P This is Santa Monica, California. Beautiful. It’s also a 2.5-3 hours drive time from her house if there’s no traffic. There’s no such thing as no traffic in SoCal.

The appointment is at 11 am. We left at 6 am. The good news is she slept almost the entire way there. Maybe her Ipod was playing The best of Steve and Eydie.

We met with the oncologist to the stars. He’s a nice enough guy. We establish rapport and then it’s, “Mrs. Moore, do you have any questions?” Oh yeah….does she have questions!!

a.) “Should I get ready for Hospice?” Yeah mom, Hospice is cool but first you want us to have Sushi and then pick up some corned beef from Nate and Al’s before you check-in.

b.) “Do I have to stop smoking?” The doctor gives us a look that says ‘this is why I make $$$$!’ He shrugs and says why not.

He then tells us about this new form of chemotherapy. Comes in a pill. Only mild side effects. Will give you more time and more quality time. Now that’s why he makes $$$$. Everyone’s happy. We get Sushi. No corned beef. No Hospice.

Off to San Diego…Thank God for carpool lanes!!

A couple of weeks pass and I’m back in Chicago. Grapevine has it that mom has decided to blow off the chemo.

I call her and mention that I heard she decided against further treatments. “Yeah, It’s experimental, wasn’t going to help, I just want this over.” Sigh, everything opposite of what the oncologist said.

I responded, “Sure. I get it. But next time can you find a fucking doctor, that you can fucking ignore, that’s less than a 10 fucking hour drive?” And hung up.

She called me the next day and said, “But the Sushi was good.” I mean cmon…you didn’t really think those were going to be the my last words to my mother. Shit, that’s years of therapy.

She died about three months later. She’s buried next to my dad. For her birthday, they’re dancing while Eydie sings. I’m listening to Led Zeppelin.

By the way, I hate Sushi.

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    Howard Moore

    Every five years or so I decide to update this section. I can't believe I've been doing this for close to ten years. The last time I did this I was close to sixty years old. Now I'm just a few months away from the big 7-ZERO. Scary AF!!! I'm pretty sure I won't be doing an update when I hit 80, but you never know. But until then, lets just be grateful.

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