FOR my mother

Even if it weren’t a national holiday this weekend I’d still be thinking about my mother. And not just because of the media blitz for greeting cards, jewelry, and flowers.

She is all around me, in the very fabric of my life, and I’m happy for the tangible ways I can remember her as I navigate Mother’s Day, and every day.

I see my mother in the seasons, as tender shoots of perennials curl up out of the ground from a winter’s sleep, and also in the magical silence of a late-night snowfall. In the chatter of birds in the peace of dusk and dawn, and in church music and wind chimes, in sea air and fresh cut grass.

I share her love of the outdoors, the perfection of a smoothly made bed, and the tendency to become preoccupied while cooking dinner. Fire!

She is the unbearably soft breeze, and the white butterfly in the yard. She is fresh linen for the table, and sharp creases in slacks. It’s her face I see now when I peer in the mirror, and her hands as I dig in the ground, stroke piano keys, or soothe a child.

In many ways, my mother and I were the same person, one completing the other, yet as different as two people can be. I never questioned as a girl that I would always have her. My defender and my lifeline. My dearest, closest friend.

Yes, she could be difficult, as we all are sometimes. But that no longer matters.  What does is that she gave love, shared wisdom and passion, opened her heart and home to many, and taught, in her eventual, glorious imperfection, what it means to be fully human.

Tears still come without invitation in the opening notes of Chopin, at show tunes once sung with family and friends, and the gilded sunsets I wish I could share. I wondered when she left how it would be possible to go on. And yet, I do. And I will. I do it for her, and what her life stood for, and her memory keeps me strong.

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About Michele

I am a freelance writer with three kids, two cats, and a dog with thyroid disease. I'm bouncing back from a divorce and making the most of every day. There is so much beauty around me. I am grateful!
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4 Responses to FOR my mother

  1. mmm61 says:

    The tears are bittersweet, for Jo and for Leona.

    Jo was exotic – a yoga devotee, a creativity devotee, a musical talent and, on occasion, a domestically challenged suburbanite. Her perspective, though not her values, were different from my Mom’s, and so I learned from her to look at things in a different way. She was someone who stood solidly in my life, watching me grow and develop, wishing to steer me right.

    I catch my mother in the mirror too. Even though this is my 8th Mother’s Day without her, the ache is sharper this year. I don’t know why. Maybe because as I age I see her more; maybe because the big 5-0 is looming, maybe because I am trying to negotiate the young adulthood of my children and she was pretty good at that. I just know I miss her. I miss needing to do something for her on Mother’s Day. I miss her voice. I miss talking with her about the kids. I miss her phone call on my birthday and the card in the mail. I miss her handwriting.

    You have slayed me with this one.

  2. Michele says:

    i miss leona’s style. i miss her suits. her hugs. that she let us smoke in the house. even though she gave us “the look.” i miss our parents and our siblings and our life in those days. i miss canton and the malones and morgans. i miss feeling like i belonged. … the tears won’t stop. but still i feel good that there have been things in my life that made me care so much. if we didn’t have pain, how would we know how good/bad it was?

  3. mmm61 says:

    Catherine gave me a print with this written on it:

    Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, What have you done with your life? & though there are many moments I think I will remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

  4. Michele says:

    i just love that.

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