The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


An Inspirational Woman

I was at the doctor’s office today with my daughter. I was so congested; my voice was nearly reduced to a whisper.

As I sat in the waiting room my doctor brought out an elderly woman named Millie and said it was fortuitous that we were meeting: she had been reporter and writer nearly her entire life and so had I.

While my daughter played, and the receptionist called a cab for Millie, we talked. Her heart was beating at twice its normal rate and she was being sent to a cardiologist because she refused to go to the emergency room.

“I am NOT going to the hospital,” she said firmly.

Millie was ninety-one and forty of her years had been spent writing for newspapers and magazines, then for another thirty she was a free-lance writer.

She was fashionably dressed in a black overcoat, dark stockings and bright pink suede flats. She was stylish, feisty, and totally independent.

Millie had two husbands; one had been an editor, the other an artist.

“Both Irish,” she said. She turned her whole body and stared at me. “Not a drop of Irish blood in me, though. Are you Irish?”

I shook my head. “No. Jewish. But my stepfather was Irish,” I added, hopefully.

She turned away and stared blankly ahead.

Though her demeanor was brave, her fear was palpable. She exuded calm, but inside her heart was literally racing. I knew as a former reporter she was already thinking ahead to the cardiologist and then the hospital stay that might await her.

“Millie,” I said, “are you afraid?”

She didn’t hear me.

I could deeply sense not only how scared she was, but how alone she was, too. After all, a taxi was picking her up. A stranger was going to take her to another doctor. She knew something was very wrong with her. And she didn’t want it to be. Damn it.

As I looked at Millie, I wanted to take her to the cardiologist. I wanted to be with her when she got her final diagnosis. I wanted to go with her to the hospital if she needed to, and to take her home if she did not. More than anything, I wanted to allay her fears.

Just then my six-year old daughter jumped into my lap and insisted on reading Dr. Seuss. I was torn. Trying to help someone who I sensed needed it, or be with my daughter who required her mother’s full attention because Mimi always knows when I’m only partially engaged.

I helped Mimi with her words. She has been having trouble with her reading, but recently she has been making some progress. Mimi needs lots of encouragement and re-enforcement. Needs her mother, too.

Just then a man arrived. His hair was wild, hat askew, and while his outfit was khaki -- it should have been camouflage. The politically incorrect musician Ted Nugent came to mind.

“Are you from the cab company?” asked the receptionist.

“I am the driver,” he said. “That’s me.”

Millie immediately stood and this proud, accomplished woman walked right over to him and grabbed his arm. Once she did, I saw him pull it out further and nod his head toward her. He wasn’t a character. He was a gentleman. And by her gesture, Millie showed that she was not too proud to ask for help.

As my daughter and I sounded out words, I watched the two walk out the door arm-in-arm. Two strangers about to become friends. While I knew Millie’s story, I wondered about the cab driver’s. Being a good reporter, I had no doubt Millie would learn it. And unquestionably, the cab driver would learn about Millie.

By Dawn Yun


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