"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke Photo (Photo ©julenisse/Fotolia)

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Mother's Lessons Lead to Her Final Gift

As seen on 

Photo Credit: Ondřej Šálek Flickr via Compfight cc

“I want to die.”  

It was hard to hear when my mother first said the words to me over the phone, but I understood why she felt that way. Besides robbing her of memory, that thief dementia had stolen my mom’s independence, dignity and ability to have an adult conversation. She repeated herself incessantly and often had trouble spitting out a coherent thought.

“Oh, never mind,” she’d say when she couldn’t get the words out. I could tell she was confused, frightened and depressed at the turn her life had taken. I tried to imagine what it would be like to wake up in assisted living every morning and not remember where I was or why I was there. The thought terrified me.

“I just want it to be over,” she said, in a rare moment of clarity. 


She hadn’t been so definite about anything in five years or more. At first I didn’t know what to say, but a month later, when my mom repeated her desire to die, I’d had time to think about my response.


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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

What's Mary Tyler Moore Got to Do With the New Trump Regime?

As seen on Huffington Post

This was supposed to be about Mary Tyler Moore.

As a young broadcast journalist, living by myself in a studio apartment, I couldn’t help but liken myself to Moore’s iconic character, Mary Richards, associate producer of the news at WJM-TV. Besides sharing the name Mary, we both produced the news—she in television and I in radio at the local NPR station. Mary modeled for us independence, encouragement, integrity and, that plucky quality her boss Lou Grant hated—spunk. I wanted to be just like her. Truth be told, though, I was a Rhoda, more bohemian and sarcastic than the well coifed, tailored and graceful Mary Richards. Still, to this day, when I think of that studio apartment—the first place I ever lived all by myself—or any young woman living alone in a studio, it always conjures up visions of Mary.

 What was it about that apartment in Minneapolis? It encapsulated the freedom we had achieved through the women’s movement: to have career ambitions, to not need a man to support us or children to legitimize us, to have a place both literally and figuratively to call our own. And, like Mary, didn’t we all want to hang our initials on the wall to claim ownership of our place in the world?

Which is why this isn’t really about Mary Tyler Moore.

It’s about those in our world who have no place to call home and especially those refugees who, until last week’s “travel ban,” thought they were coming to America to begin new lives and establish new homes. 

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