Author’s note: 20×2 is sort of like The Moth in 2 minutes. It’s an opportunity for an eclectic mix of people to answer a question in 2 minutes, using whatever medium they like. I chose to tell a story about a night that shaped me, and still shapes me today. The full text (with some small changes on stage) and video of that performance are below.
It was early December 2008 in New York City and birthday was fast approaching. And this one would be my 30th.
To me, turning 30 meant it was time to be an adult, and when it came to adulting, my mom was my inspiration. She was kind, thoughtful, and dedicated her life to so that my brother and I would have more than she did. When I was too nerdy to have many friends, she was was there for me. When other kids picked on me, she made me feel special. I looked up to her for her kindness and generosity, and I share those same qualities today because of her.
She loved the winter, and as a SoCal girl by birth, the novelty of snow never got old. She loved it like nothing else. I was really looking forward to celebrating the holiday season with her. I always tried to make her Christmases special, and this year was going to be no different. She had been very sick the last three Christmases, but now she was finally doing better.
After an evening of holiday fun with some friends, my girlfriend and I drove back to our apartment in Queens. As we were driving up into the garage, a call came in on my cell phone. An ambulance had come to my mom’s house. She was not responsive. She was off to the hospital and it didn’t look good.
We immediately drove to the hospital, and on the way, it started to snow — the first snowfall of the season. They were these beautiful, small, white flakes. It was like right out of a movie. It was at that moment I knew she was gone. 2 weeks before my birthday. 3 weeks before Christmas. The snow was her goodbye to us. It was her way of telling me that it would be ok. The snow calmed me. But, suddenly turning 30 didn’t seem to matter anymore.
There’s a point where you realize that your parents have done all they can for you, and you’re really on your own for the rest of your life. But you don’t ever see it coming. And you don’t really know what to do when it happens. And it was happening to me, 12 days before my 30th birthday.
My friends and family helped me to move forward. But, to this day, the loss still shapes me. But I know I’ll be ok because I am her son.