I’d Rather Be Weak

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I think, all things considered, I’d rather be weak.

 I decided this after talking with my dad today.

 There are studies that show that athletes who repeatedly jolt their bones – like gymnasts who land hard, or martial arts experts who strike boards – build up the density of their bones through the tiny fractures and resulting repairs of the bones. It is the breaking down that is the building up.

 I was talking with my dad today because it has been one year since my mom died of MDS, the same disease that almost got Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.

 Mom’s death has rocked my world. She was my soft place to fall.

 I have had an extraordinarily lucky life, ducking the larger of life’s tragedies and dodging the worst consequences of stupid choices. But whenever I did land with a thud, my mother, with her boundless love, was the cushion that kept the hurt from being fatal, kept me from breaking down. Her faith in me got me back on my feet.

 So I had not developed the bones to bear great grief that so many of my friends did, because I was never forced to.

 In her last couple of days propped up in her hospital bed, Mom asked me, “Are you going to be okay?”

 At the time, I doubted it. But her question left me no choice, and my last gift to her was to reassure her that yes, she had raised me strong enough.

 In the year since Mom’s death, I have made some big life changes (semi-retiring and moving to Charleston, SC) but mostly, I have simply kept on. I think and I hope Mom would be proud of any strength I have demonstrated.

 I’d choose to give the strength back in a second if I could have her back. But fractures mend, even imperfectly, and, like her question to me, I’m left with no choice.

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