Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Mom was tough

From a childhood friend of mine

After my mom died in November of 2013, we held a wonderful celebration at St. John's Cathedral. She is interred in the 'Walk of Souls' there. Students from mom's first years as a teacher at Merrill Jr. High, some in their eighties, made sure to attend, as well as students from South High, where she taught after she left Hill.

Yes, my mom was a great teacher, engaging, funny, smart, memorable. She had enough love for all her students, but still was a great mom to Pam and me.

But, you have no idea how strong and brave my mom was...

In the mid-50's, mom had to commit her mother to the state hospital in Pueblo. Mom was recently divorced. Grandma was living with us, but it was even obvious to this little guy that grandma was not well. We didn't have much money, so that was the only option. Mom drove to Pueblo at least once a month to visit. Pam and I were never allowed to see grandma. We were told grandma had 'Huntingtons Chorea', a degenerative disease of the brain stem.

Some years later, mom was taking classes at DU to get her Master's in education. During a lecture, the professor was talking about hereditary diseases. Huntington's was mentioned. If your parent has it, you have a 50-50 genetic chance. After the lecture, mom ran down to tell the professor that her mom had it and wanted to ask more questions. He didn't look at her, slammed his notebook shut and walked off. (I remember his name to this day, the coward). Mom later spoke of him with a snarl.

So, here is a divorced mother with two kids, and she has a chance to get a most cruel disease.

What to do? When you have a twitch in bed, is that it? When you spill a glass, do you have it? If you have it, then your kids also have a 50-50 chance. I can't imagine the years of worry that mom endured, though she only spoke of it once it became clear that she was perhaps free of the scourge when she was in her mid-40's. It meant that my sister and I dodged a hideous fate.

Mom found a nice couple who would take Pam and me if she got the sickness. They lived in the Sloan's Lake area.

Imagine arranging to have your children taken away.

Mom was tough.

No comments:

Post a Comment