The Emotional Support Daughter – a Column by Emma Schmitz

Emma lives in Truckee, California and earned a degree in Literature: Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz in 2013. Her mother, Diana, was officially diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2019 and had a single-lung transplant in May 2020. Emma was one of her caregivers during recovery and continues to support her mother from 185 miles away every day. Her column, “The Emotional Support Daughter,” sums up their relationship in a cheeky but loving way, and Emma hopes to depict her mother’s journey through her own lens with equal doses of realism, humor, and compassion.

Testing Out a New Lung at High Elevations

The moment my parents, Diana and Jack, were in the clear two weeks after their second COVID-19 vaccine, they hopped on a plane to see their three grandchildren in Illinois. This was about a month shy of my mom’s one-year lung transplant anniversary. Their trip was everything they had…

Balancing the Rituals of Risk Management

I was born into a risk management family. My parents built a mom and pop insurance agency into a regional empire, and now my brother and I are deep in it, too. This works because my personality is naturally cautious. I don’t go on solo mountain bike rides longer…

I Miss Giving My Mom the Gift of a Good Hug

I don’t know if humans will recover from this pandemic: the lack of touch, the resocializing to keep our distance, the physical isolation. I have dreams where I’m in groups of happy people touching … and those dreams are actually nightmares. My mom is a hugger.

Transplant in the Time of Coronavirus

On a beautiful Thursday afternoon late last May, my partner and I took the dogs swimming at our secret spot at a nearby reservoir. A sailboat gliding across the water made me reminisce about sailing in the San Francisco Bay while growing up. The first…