Under normal circumstances, trying to find love can be challenging -- and stressful. And for Elizabeth Koster, the pressure was even more intense. Sarah Goldberg (HBO's "Barry") reads Elizabeth's essay.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love. The pod cast a supported by while tax state isn't a holiday. It is an opportunity when you open and fund of Fidelity Retail Irae there, no account fees and no minimums plus you could help lower your taxable income for the twenty twenty one taxi. Her there's still time to make a tax smart meant of soviet fidelity, dot com, slash irey to deck, investing involves risk, including risk of loss, fidelity brokerage services, member, and why I see as a pc produced by the island at W B, you are faster. From the New York Times and W B were Boston. This is modern stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm you host
Meghna Chakrabarti. It can be read the challenging to get the timing of your love life right? How do you find the person at the right time. Well for Elizabeth there was something else adding to that pressure: her mothers, cancer, Elizabeth, it's about that in her essay agreeing to accept and move on it's red by Sarah Goldberg who stars opposite Bill Haider in bury on each be oh, after my mother was told she had incurable cancer. She became obsessed with finding me a husband, one afternoon from her office between negotiations for a client's book contract? She called three Times to tell me about a man my father had met, who worked in a Soho LAMP store, my mother, a powerful publisher
Literary agent who had champion Stephen King now wanted to set me up with someone you sold lamps he's Lee. leaving for France soon she said haul him, irritated. I went home to put on my tight jeans and spaghetti strap shirt and walked over to the store where a handsome man talked about his coming trip to France. Without asking me a single question. during my mother's next frantic phone call, she said got to celebrity brothers web pages and choose the one I like says she could forward my photo. I cringe, but that hey, you never know you're not smiling here. My mother said about one photo. Four headed oily in this one. These don't highlight what you really look like in response to the fifth she finally road. Yes, this Best, no one sees themselves properly. I've noticed
time and again, especially with myself, but with others very consistently, when my Water got no response, she shrugged and said I tried doctor said she had up to ten years. She was sixty six. I was twenty. Eight thinking. I would be alone to face or illness. I searched for men in stores and coffee shops bars and parties on subway platforms and at best ups, and on ok, Cupid, vast cupid and matched our come on top of my full time teaching job. I took a part time position at Eastern Mountain sports, so I could find an outdoor z man now you're thinking my mother said. I didn't meet anyone and quit after three weeks. It only takes one.
She said and recounted how she had met my father at thirty seven, then vice president of a publishing company she'd gone on a bus tour of Tiffany Glass in the hope of finding someone when she boarded the bus. She smiled at an attractive man before sitting in front of him during the tour's lunch break. He asked. Would you like to join me? I know a good pizza parlor, my mother, liked his boyish good looks blonde hair and hazel eyes. A week later they went on a double date at the bar atop, the World Trade Center. My mother pointed out waiters to me in restaurants: do you think he's cute gummy, the phone number of a man she met at a party and even without telling me included the following pitch at the end of her fiftieth anniversary, high school and I update are exceptional and beautiful daughter is a high school english your who loves teaching she's, almost twenty nine is single and if anyone
as a son, whose wonderful and single and looking please contact me. I know shows how shameless I am, but who knows, after all, I met my husband on a bus. No one contacted her at a friend's wedding. I met Matt a tall redhead from Colorado. We danced his leave confident and he answered everything correctly on my invisible checklist, avid reader Democrat liked outdoor activities and travel. We spent that night and the following day. Together before he flew home for weeks, we travel back and forth to see each other giddy with possibility. Do you think this relationship is promising my mother asked I do I said happy to please. I sent photos of our skiing adventures and she wrote gorgeous thanks. So much sweetheart, then she forwarded them to her therapist and her friend with
note. I'm so happy Things got serious enough that Matt planned a job transfer to New York. I focus my attention on him, as my mother started, an alternative treatment that had been successful in patient trials and that she was convinced would extend her life past ten years by the time a treatment started, had moved into his Brooklyn apartment. The number of tumor cells in my mother's body decreased and she continued to work in her home office as usual Matt and I cooked hiked and danced together.
And I thought I was set one day my mother called to see if I wanted to bring him over for dinner. So she asked is this in a faint annoyance, though I secretly like the bond, my mother and I now had mom I've only been with math for two months: ok, ok. I could see a raising her hands and supplication when we arrive for dinner, flowers were everywhere, The chicken had a wine reduction sauce that she had spent hours simmering she blushed and stammered around Matt, who listened intently engineering stories with my father. The next day she called to exclaim. We love him weeks later. She complained of pain and her stomach swelled. On a visit to her office, I was surprised to see a pushed aside plate of uneven crackers.
You always had such an appetite. When I shared my fears with Matt, he just looked at me, helplessly arms dangling. Then he cooked a meal and we ate in silence. It seemed we couldn't talk about what mattered you want me to be your rock. He asked confused. He said he would try. But after I visited my mother in the hospital on her sodium levels, were so low that she was jumble. In her words, he still didn't know what to say. After my mother had recovered from her lips, she asked if she should get my grandmother's engagement ring from the safe deposit box. I stalled and set. It had only been three months
so Seinfeld married his wife after three months, whether that was true or not she saw the ring, is a talisman from harm, a symbol that I was taking. Care of. It was platinum with a small square diamond and I held it up to the light and admired it on my hand. It's too big, I told my mother, it's easy to get it altered. I told her. I was unsure about him nobody's perfect. She said I took online quizzes to determine if I was attracted to Matt according to some. I wasn't, but we had the same interests and we ve had so much fun before and he said he loved me one afternoon at my parents apartment. I told my mother about my reservations. Is there still a spark between you, two,
She asked I shook my head, I see without a spark, it won't work. She remedies that she had always thought my father was so handsome always I could start to let him go once she had it took weeks before. I told me that it just wasn't working. He asked if we could keep trying, but I knew I couldn't after we broke up. I saw how thin my mother had become our clothes hung. She was loose it at work, but any apartment. She sometimes forgot how to get up from a chair. My father and I took turns helping her
hooking her armpits as she pushed down with her hands and rocked forward. One day she told me I was the most important thing that had ever happened to her. Besides my father, her eyes closed. As she said when I was born, she felt like she was in love. Seeing an opening. I told her that it was difficult to see her dying. I'm not dying, I'm fighting, she said as her eyes snapped open. I have all
it's fighting missing the connection we shared over my relationship with Matt. I went to lunch with him now and then hoping something would change between us. I saw him today. I would tell her and still nothing from her bed one evening as the light caught the curve of her collarbone My mother told me you know, maybe you don't want to get married, made You want to be single for the rest of your life. That's okay! Stand by her words. Cedant didn't recognize this woman before me and
be she continued. You don't want children, they can be a real pain. I stay the laugh. I definitely want children. I said that I looked at her curiously wondering where all this was coming from this from the woman who had tried so hard to marry me off. She would be dead in a month. She would never see me married or meet my kids and she knew that then. It was her way of letting go. HMM The Sarah Goldberg
reading Elizabeth Clusters, essay agreeing to accept and move on will catch up with Elizabeth Right. After this I laughed following my friend and I often play falling, be together by together. Sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. That may have happened again. I have one friend who I will say: in the screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p, o t
Jack finally hit nice. I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, Slash Games, Elizabeth. Koster was thirty one. When her mother died and she says after losing her mother, she became obsessed with writing about the relationship and how her mother's illness shaped her own life. My mom had breast cancer, starting from when I was a baby. I think I was six months old and she kept having recurrences she had stage, For cancer, when I was four years old and she fought it, but she was told that it would come back And so she knew she was a ticking time bomb answer was everywhere and I thought I could lose her any day
So. There is a lot of pressure to meet someone from a very young age. I think I was five when my mom showed me a Barbie doll with an engagement ring, and she said she has a ring so she's getting married, and she said this with such odd that I felt leg Oh, I have to find somebody to and that pressure to find someone didn't go away when her mother died. I wanted security I wanted family. I wanted the comfort that I saw would be guaranteed from our relationship. So I made dating a full time job for years. I went on three four dates a week. Sometimes I'd have two dates in one night and I once had four dates in one day.
and I wasn't really as discerning as I am now. I didn't really trust myself and so ice I just spent how much time meeting is. Call who I recently ended up, not being right for me, and there was even more pressure, because Elizabeth wants kids and her desire to have children was tied to her own fear of getting cancer. One thing that I heard in my twenties was that not having a child before the age of thirty five can increase the chances of getting breast cancer. So. It became a life or death situation for me to find someone and have a child before the age of thirty five or else I could die but, as it turns out, I ended up getting breast cancer. When I was thirty three two years before my deadline, it was it-
Very early stage I was treated, I was told it wasn't genetic and I'm fine now, but it was really scary at the time Elizabeth says that, after her treatments, Some of the pressure around dating eased. She started focusing more on the things she loved writing being outside her friends and her thinking about children has changed to and in the past, couple of years. People have been saying just have one on your own and I really didn't want that, because I've just had this fantasy. Since I was a kid probably that I would meet somebody fall in love and create a child out of that love, and that hasn't happened. and I just got so tired of pounding the pavement and not finding any one. So I very recently, probably within the past year, came around to the idea of having a kid on my own Elizabeth does miss her mother
or who she says was her cheerleader. I remember soon after she died. I was on a vacation with some friends and I kept having the impulse to call her and tell her what we had seen and done that day, and it took a long time to understand that I could never call her again, which sounds strange, but it's muscle memory. It's nearly impossible for the mind to grasp that someone who is,
there for so many years is just gone. That's Elisabeth Koster she's, a writer and creative writing teacher living in New York City she's, currently finishing a memoir more after the break. I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together, I together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again I have one friend who I will say
in the screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p o t Jack finally hit nice. I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at annoying times dot com, flash games. here's Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times. I find these pieces so interesting where someone sick facing death and on the way there, either out of out of a sense of distraction or out of a sense of obligation, are out of love or caretaking. They involve themselves in someone else's
love Life and, on the one hand, that's so touching, and at such a loving act, then it's a time of camaraderie play between the two of them when things could otherwise just be sort of sad and in a state of the Something they can rally around, but but on the other hand, that have need of the mothers, I thought was so interesting how much pressure that puts on a relationship and how the daughter she's like I wanted to work. I wanted to love him because here's my mother sort of clinging to this hope and having that hope, be sort of reviving force in her life. and if I can't give her that hope, then I'm contributing to her decline in a way. It seems like that's what what Elizabeth was taking on
and hear Sarah Goldberg on why she liked this piece. She writes with such precision and economy about these big big topics like death and time and love and it was so moving. I felt this sort of idea of the expectations that we put on the people we love and the expectations that we then put on ourselves for the people we love and that, ultimately, we have to let go of all the these expectations in order to truly connect and show our real love. So I just thought it was kind of a succinct, beautiful story about that and am and beautifully beautifully written thanks again to Sarah Goldberg. You can see her starring as Sally read in each be owes bury next week, Lake Bell
one goes into a move expecting to fall for her mover. I was no exception. This was back in October, two thousand one when people advertise their services by taping flyers to lampposts among signs for the E nine hundred and eleven missing. That's where I found Derek's number, which I called in secret on my boyfriend, was getting sloshed at whatever Brookland I've sold the cheapest drinks. We were being evicted from our apartment. A third floor, walk up over a check, cashing store, my boyfriend, normally a sad drunk, had trashed the place. Our landlord was wise to sever ties with him. I was too insecure to do the same. I decided to move in with a girlfriend. I told Derek all this
our first phone call to his enduring credit. The mover didn't find the strange. Modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced, directed and edited by Caitlin, O Keefe scoring and sound design by Matt Reed. Adler's. Our executive producer, Daniel Jones is editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show special thanks to cement the Hennig it's and in merely at the New York Times. The idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin. I magnet see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.