Mom, circa 1938

Mom, circa 1938

Mom, circa 1938.

20170513-Comic-RRfJTG-Mom circa 1938 strawberry pickers labor camp-aa-1080x1080
Mom circa 1938 at Strawberry Pickers’ Labor Camp somewhere in Oregon

Mom told me that she and her two younger brothers would work picking strawberries and her father would take all their salaries leaving them with nothing.

Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1993. Her doctor had seen dark spots in her xrays about five years earlier, but had told her those spots were “nothing to worry about”, and so she spent about five years untreated. She might have lost a lung had she been properly diagnosed, and might even still be alive now, but no. She refused to take any legal malpractice action because her doctor was a “war hero”, apparently an old military doctor.

Mom died in 1994, and only a few weeks after her death from lung cancer, I was diagnosed with a potentially terminal case of colon cancer, so my grieving process was cut short by my own situation. I survived because new surgical techniques and chemotherapies had been developed that had not been available just a few years earlier. A few months after my surgery, I met another cancer patient who had the same diagnosis, but five years earlier, but then was in his final stages. He told me “people like you will live because people like me died”, meaning that doctors learned from failures like him what not to do. He died a few months later.

I spent the last eight months of Mom’s life recording virtually ever conversation we had, including her looking over pictures like this and telling me what and where they were. I plan one day to transcribe those tapes, but now at 22 years, I fear my time to do the transcription is running out.



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