Saturday, October 24, 2009

Surrogate Mother

Sue's mother, Peggy, passed away around 1990. She died at the age of 59 of cancer. We had two little girls at the time, ages 2 and 1.

But Sue wasn't ready to be without a mother. Lucky for her, she had a really good aunt, Aunt Audrie, who stepped in and became something of a surrogate mother to Sue. After she graduated from college, Sue took a job as a quality-control specialist in a garment factory in Los Angeles. During that year Sue lived with her Aunt Audrie and Uncle Russell in Hermosa Beach, California.

Sometimes when you're sick your mind takes you back to yester-years. You remember being sick as a kid, and how your mom took care of you. Now, even though you're "all grown up," sometimes when you're sick you just want your mommy.

Aunt Audrie is one of the most gracious, kind and generous people I have ever met. She calls Sue periodically and I have overheard bits and pieces of the conversation. Sue loves her Aunt Audrie, and several times recently I have heard her choke up a bit on saying goodby to her.

Yesterday Sue's Aunt Audrie, together with Sue's Uncle Val and his wife, Betty, stopped by for a visit. They were on their way back to Southern California following an elderhostel trip to Carmel. We shared a dinner meal with them. Our neighbors, Mark and Cindy, also joined us for dinner. They are surrogates of a different kind. We refer to each other as "chosen family." They've been like an extra mom and dad for our daughters.

For the past two weeks Sue has felt crummy. She's had a cold and she's been a little depressed -- or anyway a little sad. But yesterday was a really good day. She felt good and her spirits were buoyed. It's amazing how much healing power is in a "mother's" touch and presence. It's amazing how important it is to be surrounded by family, even if some of them are surrogates.


  1. Thanks for posting this photo George. It is good to see your family with mine. I completely agree with your description of Aunt Audrie. Susan is a lot like her. Jill

  2. Aunt Audrie is indeed a special person. Having spent several weekends at her house in Hermosa Beach I can attest to her graciousness. It was so good to see her, and to meet Sue's uncle and aunt. They were good medicine for Sue.


  3. An ordinary day at home is indeed incredible when one has spent too many days in a hospital.

    However, an ordinary day at home can also be long, mundane, and leave one feeling trapped. Because doing typical tasks, errands, chores, mundane activities and hobbies require energy.

    Any day becomes extraordinary when filled with treasured souls! Hopefully Sue is filled up with love to fill several upcoming ordinary days!

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