Matilda’s Triumph: A Memoir

Cover of Matilda's Triumph: A Memoir by Richard Moss, MD

About the Book

Matilda’s Triumph: A Memoir is the story of my mother’s encounter with a devastating stroke and me, her physician-son, who failed her at a most inopportune time: its precise onset. In the confusion of the initial moments of the stroke, I did not administer a powerful but controversial clot buster that could have saved her... The narrative uniquely weaves two stories: the gripping saga of a family devastated by illness intertwined with compelling episodes of that same family’s turbulent past, learning about its anguished but undaunted mother, a lioness raising her five sons as a single parent in the Bronx.

Jewish and religious themes are laced through the entire chronicle. There is an ongoing contest in my mind between the inevitability of the laws of medical science and belief in a benevolent God. As a practicing Jew, I engage in an ongoing internal debate about the legitimacy of Jewish belief and ritual, and weave theological motifs into the story that would inspire and interest a faith-based audience, Jewish, Christian, or “spiritual.”

Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: LangMarc Publishing (December 10, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches

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Sample Reading

I didn't realize how far inside myself it all went, how deeply my mother had reached. She had always been there, and so I never saw life in any other way. From the moment of my birth, she had never been anything less than the soil I stood on and the air that sustained me.

But I had never taken its full measure, never understood its magic and complexity, the swarming tangle of roots and limbs that bound me to her. In some way, she still worked on me, the same as she had when I was a child. I still felt her presence, her memory lifting me as lightly as a leaf.

It was peculiar, perhaps, to talk this way at this age, as an adult, as a physician, but here was a frightening pain that came from such loss, no matter my years, a grief that welled up like a great wave that even the best of us could not resist.

My mother was ordinary in many ways, but by living a simple life and struggling with difficult circumstances, she taught vital lessons. I reflected often on this woman, my mother, who did not succumb.

She gave life to that which was incurable, where life had no right to take hold. She found meaning in never compromising, in clinging desperately to her truths, despite the tragedies, despite the misery, despite the uproar.


  • “Matilda’s Triumph is a love story... a fantastic non-fiction read that left me at its end feeling exultant for having the good sense to read it.”
    Scott Saalman, Director
    Employee Communications, Kimball International, Inc.
  • “The story is a treasure... The author’s use of dialogue is often pure genius.”
    John F.X. Ryan, Jr., Former Managing Director
    Sovran Limited and Pace West Distributing, Inc.
    Executive Assistant, Lieutenant Governor, State of Indiana
  • “I rate Matilda’s Triumph a 10++!”
    Tiffany Moncrief, Editor of Renew Partnerships
    Freelance Christian Writer

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About the Author


Dr. Moss is an Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeon in private practice in the southern Indiana town of Jasper since 1991, where he resides with his wife and four children. A native of New York City, he earned his undergraduate degree at Indiana University, in Bloomington, and completed his Doctor of Medicine studies at the I.U. School of Medicine in Indianapolis in 1981. Dr. Moss was board certified in 1986. He completed a fellowship in Facial Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of California in 1987. Between 1987 and 1990, Dr. Moss traveled extensively through Asia, serving voluntarily as visiting surgeon at medical centers in Thailand, Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. He owned a bagel shop (“Bronx Bagel”) and an Italian restaurant (“Simply Pasta”), taught Yoga and developed a Yoga TV program, “Yoga For Health.”

While overseas, Dr. Moss wrote frequent columns, travel pieces, and human-interest stories for the Bangladesh Observer, the Bangkok Post, and the Nation (Bangkok). He continues to write newspaper columns and feature stories for a variety of local and regional newspapers in Indiana. He also maintains a blog and website, Dr. Moss has written a book based on his travels through Asia as a surgeon known as The Cutting Edge and and now Matilda's Triumph: A Memoir about his mother's encounter with a debilitating stroke intertwined with vignettes of growing up in the Bronx.

Front and back cover of Matilda's Triumph: A Memoir by Richard Moss, MD

Family Tree Painting

Years ago, Wendel Field agreed to paint a portrait of my mother using one of my favorite photos of her. The original plan expanded to become a detailed study of the family tree, centered on my mother but extending upwards to include her five sons and three of my four children, her siblings and their spouses, and her parents and grandparents below. The canvas includes the trajectory of one branch of the Jewish people of which we are a part, the Sephardim or Jews of Spanish descent. It begins at the bottom with iconic biblical figures (Moses and Abraham), and of Jerusalem, which places us, like all Jews, in our native land of ancient Israel. There is an image of the Alhambra, in Spain and a silhouette of the Blue Mosque in (Istanbul) Turkey, where many Sephardim (including my ancestors) fled after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Monument Circle in Indianapolis symbolizes the city where my mother’s parents emigrated; then images of the Bronx, where my mother’s family moved in 1931, and where my four brothers and I were born and raised.

There is a menorah in the background, a man blowing the shofar, a dreidel, lulav, Passover Seder plate, Sabbath table, Torah, and other religious objects. It is a compressed but poignant portrayal of the life of my mother, our family, and large swaths of the Jewish people.

Wendel granted us permission to use his painting(s) in this book. (For more information about Wendel, visit his website at

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