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Love yourself first, Part 1

People have been talking about Carrie Fisher’s and Debbie Reynolds’ passing within days of each other. There was a lot of shock and disbelief about it. Certainly, I don’t think any of us expected the actor who’d grown from Princess into General Leia to leave us so soon. But, when I heard a couple of days later that Reynolds had passed while arranging her daughter’s funeral, the first thought that went through my mind was, “That’s codependency.” It reminded me so clearly of a pattern I had seen in the relationship between my mother and her son—yes, my brother—the two of whom together I have taken to calling, “The Mo’ and Bro’ Show”. One act from this drama: Summer 2009. I had gone to a baroque dance workshop up in Boston for a week. I felt good, and then I returned to NYC. I learned on my way back that my brother had come into NYC over the weekend, ostensibly to check on Mom’s health. He could only stay a day or two before he had to return to Nashville, where he had actually found a new radio job after a long stretch of unemployment. This time, he was working behind the scenes at a station. When I arrived home, I learned that Mom had rented the brother a car to drive back South. I thought this odd, but knew better than to say anything. By nightfall Monday, he had driven off. Midday, Tuesday. The phone rings. Mom picks it up. It’s the brother. He is in Virginia. He had fallen asleep at the wheel and totaled the car, but he’s completely unharmed, luckily. Mom, to her credit, did not faint, however, it turned out that she was arrears in the luck department. Some legalities you need to know: In NY State (and probably in most states), one must have a credit card in one’s own name in order to legally rent a car. My brother did not have a credit card of his own. Mom did, and so rented the car in her name. However, since the Bro’ was not part of the rental agreement, he was not supposed to have been driving that car. Therefore, the rental company held Mom liable for the total replacement value of the car, which was somewhere upwards of $10,000. Now, the Bro’ did not report the incident to Mom’s insurance company, and neither did Mom.The thought probably never occurred to her since, by Thursday of that week, she was on her way to the hospital. It unfolded like this...

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