Friday, August 21, 2009

Meanderings: Losses of All Kinds

The other day, Val at Babalu linked to an interview with one of the grand ladies of Cuban song, Olga Guillot. Listening was a bittersweet experience for me, as the people who introduced me to Olga in the form of a "longplain," my parents, are no longer around. Olga's very Cuban speech evoked my very real sense of loss.

I've lost much in the past few years, whether the last vestiges of youth, or the daughter who followed her dream out to the West Coast. The loss of my mother, painful as it still is, signalled yet another loss. My house, which for decades rang with the sounds of family- the loudest, Cuban- is strangely silent. And if you can be said to rattle around in four rooms, I do so. There is no one to cook for, no one to take care of, no one with whom to speak Spanish in a natural, spontaneous way. There is no one to bathe my kitchen within a three foot radius of the stove in oil from cooking masitas de puerco.

You see, I not only lost my mother, but I lost a part of myself. As a child, growing up in a world which judged me and mine, I hated being different. I thought there would be nothing better in the world than to be named Holly or something equally Anglo, to have parents with freckles who didn't think the Girl Scouts were a potentially life-threatening organization (something about lakes) and who didn't roll their r's. And now, here I am in white bread Sarasota, just about the entire older generation gone, my contemporaries like me, more comfortable in English, and terribly diminished. I have no more immediate Cuban ties, other than those to the relatives left behind. In a weird irony, I have realized a childhood dream only to find it is more of a pesadilla* from which I will not wake up and be comforted by Mami.

*bad dream, not quite as dramatic as a nightmare.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In Which I am Confused and Horrified over Healthcare

Since there is no clear outline of the details of the various healthcare bills being considered (maybe I'm crazy, but I have this thought that in the dim mists of my youth the Daily News would have had the competing bills broken down to bullet points) in their absence I am left to contemplate all sorts of things. I object to any one of the bills first and foremost because, overdrawn as we are, this is not the time to get into a massive spending program. We seem to have done enough of that in the past half year or so.

But the other night, I was shocked to hear Dick Morris indicate that the Medicare HMO's will be gone under the overhaul. I lived this with my now deceased mother, who was hemorrhaging money until Bush upped the reimbursement rate and the HMO's returned to Sarasota. Have you ever noticed that the very same politicians who vaunt the public school system all the while they send their own children to private schools are the same ones who hail Medicare? Memo: Medicare pays 80% of what they decree a medical service is worth which is not usually what the provider charges. Unless the provider accepts assignment, which not everyone does, the senior pays the 20% balance plus the difference. It adds up, as seniors are prone to a range of illnesses and conditions.

Of course, not having read them, I'm not sure what's in any of the bills. I'm not alone, though, seems the pols haven't either.