Growing up in Sweden in the mid twentieth century did not make me question my mother’s perpetual smoking in closed cars and our tightly buttoned-up home. Her love superseded the effect her health-destroying habit had on the family. Growing up in the New York / New Jersey area as a boy I did not suspect what I was being lovingly fed by my mother was destructive to my health. Both of us were given unwavering support and well taken care of by good and competent parents. This did not mean that they were great role models for our lifestyles. Each of us were helped in any and all ways that we required. Never was there a doubt that the caring hands of our mothers were there to hold us and guide us; yet at the same point, we were watching them slip away as they self-destructed.
As we matured and we went out on our own, we began working in the progressive health field; there was a time in both of our lives that we were perplexed about our sentiment on our upbringing. How could such beautiful women who were great mothers dislike themselves so much that they allowed themselves to self-afflict to a point that both died an early death? On a daily basis we would watch the people we worked with rid themselves of a plethora of diseases by making sound lifestyle choices. Our poor mothers, who we loved dearly, we could not save. In our own ways, both of us began to accept them the way they were and somehow understood that they were doing the best they could, although we knew it was certainly not enough.
The day my mother in Sweden was told she had lung cancer she quit smoking after 50 years. Too bad somebody didn’t scare her decades earlier! The day my mother was convinced she needed minor surgery for the diabetes she created from eating meat, dairy, bread and sugar, little did she know they would make a mistake, puncture her heart and die on the surgery table.
We always had and always will love our mothers. Every day we speak about them and think about them and thank them for all they gave us. We also work hard as parents of 4 and grandparents of 7 to be an exemplary model to live a sane, healthy lifestyle so that our offspring does not have to endure the same distorted and painful lives that their grandmothers / great grandmothers did. Our message to all of you reading this is to try hard to guide our irreplaceable female role models into living a well balance, health promoting life. If for some reason, your influence is not accepted, love them in every way you possibly can.
We have learned from being with very sick people over the last half century that when one rests on their deathbeds, the vast majority speak about the lady who carried them in her womb for 9 months. There will never be any person that we were closer to than our moms. We may love our partners and our children, but we did not reside in their bodies for nearly a year. Spend as much time with that lady that you possibly can and be candid enough to tell her how much you appreciate her for all the time and sacrifices she has made for you! If your mom suffered and did not have the ability to support you in all of the ways that you had hoped for; forgive her for that was all she was able to do. Lastly, resolve all of your issues with mom and if she is either here or already gone, have a candid conversation with her this Mother’s Day!
By Brian and Anna Maria Clement