Monday, June 12, 2006

No Schnauzer Logic This Week - My Mom, Edna Goldstein, Has Passed Away...

Sonovista, my friends... just a short note to let you all know there won't be an episode of Schnauzer Logic this week... my mom, Edna Goldstein, died this morning, just 2 weeks shy of her 80th birthday, from lung cancer... mom stopped smoking, cold turkey, 35 years ago, on the back steps of the Monroe Temple of Liberal Judaism, as we were leaving a meeting with the rabbi about my pending bar mitzvah... as we were walking out the door someone told her about a mutual friend who had just been diagnosed with the deadly disease and my mom took the cigarette out of her hand, and the pack out of her bag, and threw them in the temple dumpster and that was that... so if you smoke, please stop... no good can come of it... death from lung cancer is a hideous thing to see... it shakes your belief in any kind of higher power to think that a disease with the power to inflict such devastating pain and destruction on a human being could come from a merciful creator... and yet, my mom lived to be almost 80... so who can know how many ways i wouldn't have been able to disappoint her had she continued to smoke over the past 35 years... and truth be told, if you're almost 80 and you can still give your adult child grief on your own death bed, you've probably had a pretty full life... but there are such better ways to shuffle off this mortal coil (something involving a donkey, a ballerina and a giant sling-shot, for example)... and the sooner you quit, the more days you tack on to the other end, and maybe, just maybe, the donkey (or the ballerina) will get you before respiratory failure does... in any event, if you smoke, please stop.

Here is a photograph of my mom taken earlier this year... that's my mom on the right, and her aide, pauline, on the left... i got to know pauline over the past few days and she is everything you could want a caretaker (or just a good friend) to be... kind, funny, intelligent, invested, she was a perfect sparing partner for my mom up until the end (and no, she did not go gentle into that good night... and she most definitely did rage, rage against the dying of the light). Thank you, pauline.

Mom and Pauline in Florida

My mom and I had a complex relationship... the gifts many, the challenges plentiful... but through my relationship with my mom i learned that its possible to hold and acknowledge the genuine hurt that someone may cause you with the unconditional love you can feel for them at the same time... both are real and denying either one diminishes who you are... forgiveness is not a prerequisite to love. I may talk more about this at some point, but suffice it to say, nothing can change how much i miss her (already).

And so, tomorrow (tuesday) i fly from south florida to NYC for her funeral on wednesday and subsequent burial next to my dad out on long island... and, at some point, i'll head back to california and regain my bearings and start all over again... a little sadder knowing she may be out there... i just can't call her to tell her what a great show we just did...

so until we meet again...
show up
pay attention
tell the truth
and don't be attached to the outcome
(and if you smoke, please stop)


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