Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rose Mills (1926-2007)


I buried my mom yesterday.

The only thing I want to say about it here pertains to the mood of anti-immigrationism arisen in America… and people like this who gnash their teeth about non-white immigrants.

My mom spent the last 15 years of her life in a nursing home. Her daily care in recent years was provided by young black women from places like Sierra Leone and Guyana.

I never interrogated any of them regarding their legal status. I don’t regret that. What I regret is, I so rarely thanked them for spoon-feeding my mother.

If you’ve got loved ones in nursing homes, chances are they’re being kept clean by non-white immigrants.

When my mother took a turn for the worse four weeks ago, most of the doctors who treated her were South Asians with names like “Singh.”

And, sure, my first impulse was to wonder about this glut of foreigners – “What is this, a hospital, or the fucking Concert for Bangladesh?” – but the fact is there’s a doctor shortage looming in the United States. I’m sure India needs them more, but we got ’em, so let’s be grateful.

Last week, I found myself outside a shopping mall in Silver Spring, Md. Plenty of immigrants in Silver Spring these days. A little brown-skinned boy toddled up to the mall and pointed. “That’s where Santa lives,” he said, his voice vaguely accented. Behind him, his mother said, “Huh?” And the little boy said: “This is where Santa lives.”

You’re telling me that kid ain’t American?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear you - I spent 30 years as a clinical specialist in practice and teaching students. I retired from my prestigious job at a prestigious hospital that employed no minorities as RNs. After 5 years of gagging on the insensitivity shown to patients by these "best of the best" nurses, I quit after one told me to "chill out" after he made a mistake that almost caused the death of young woman.

My only hope is that I land in a nursing home with lots of illegal immigrant nurses' aides.

dez said...

My grandparents are in a nursing home owned by Asian immigrants and staffed by predominantly Asian immigrants. They take good care of my grandparents, which is all I ask, really.

I'm very sorry for your loss, David. My condolences to you and your family.

Kewalo said...

Please accept my condolences. Even though you mother had been ill for a long time it is never easy to lose a parent.

mmatassa said...

David, I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

Mark

SJ said...

So sorry to hear about your loss David....never easy to lose a parent.

I myself am South Asian and yes, most of us who come here are doctors and engineers....those are the main skills which are "transferable" from our countries to the US. A lot of us are nerdy too.

S.O.L. said...

David,

I'm sorry for your loss. When anyone I know loses a parent, I think about what my grandmother said when her last parent died. She was past middle age by then and she told my father (her son), "I'm an orphan now." I always thought that was so poignant.

The recent anti-immigrant thing is burning a hole in my heart, too, David. Not like the rest of us came here on the fucking Mayflower.

Not that that would make us Native Americans, anyway.

Sorry for your loss...

Undercover Black Man said...

Thank you all for your kind expressions of sympathy.

susie said...

My condolences Dave to you and your family. Thank you so much for posting this picture of your mom when she was young - it is very cool to see you in her face.

GEH said...

So Sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. It's never easy to lose a loved one especially a parent. I too felt like an orphan when I lost both of my parents within two years of each other.

I posted earlier about a family friend who was killed at the Tech shootings.

I think I may know some of your family. I won't mention names but a nephew who lives in OH now. He used to live in VA & then MD. He always talked about an uncle David who wrote for television.

Undercover Black Man said...

Geh: That's a mind-blower! Yeah, my nephew was there for the funeral. Me and him were real close growing up... and continue to be.

Susie: Funny you should mention the resemblance. One of those Guyanese nurse's aides at the nursing home told me a few years ago: "There's a saying in Guyana... When the son looks like the mother, it's good luck!"

Thank you both, again, for your words.

Becky said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

ItAintEazy said...

My condolences as well. I am glad to know that during her final years she was being given the utmost care and that she is at rest knowing that she is loved.

Geh said...

UCB, I emailed you about your nephew. We've known him for years. It really is a small world.
Take care.

Elyce said...

David, I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Bryan said...

Surely what is correct about you is founded by your mother. She, then, lives in your excellence. He who J'ah bless no one can curse.

Adam said...

David, my condolences for your loss, and I hope your mom (and you) are at peace.

intangiblemagazine said...

I recently buried my father. I took care of him at home, spoon feeding him at myself. I even had to change his diapers--and it wasn't pretty. But I was never closer to my father than when I shaved, washed and dressed him. After his stroke he developed a different personality because he knew he was at the mercy of strangers and his children. The humbling of Charles H. Morgan Jr. was enlightening. Thank God for parents!

Mr. Obie Joe said...

Hey, David:

Very sorry for your loss, and I hope there is much peace as your mother is laid to rest. What a beautiful photo of her; I definitely see the resembelance.

justjudith said...

my condolences, david.

Jason Stew said...

David,

I am sorry for your loss. I lost my Father in 2003 and I think of him everyday. I have dreams of him giving me Fatherly advice as well as giving me supportive hugs. Family is always the most important thing in life. Your friends are you family also. Squash all grudges and anger. Make sure to recognize and appreciate those who have always been there for you.

Dougfp said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. When my Dad died at the end of 2005, the hospice nurses who cared for him day and night were both "non-white immigrants" from Jamaica. One was named Lovely, the other Precious. They were aptly named. Both were lovely and precious human beings.

Ortho said...

Hi UBM. Sorry to learn about your mom's passing. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks to all, once more, for your warm expressions of support.