October 9, 2016

Quiet Reflection

I don't know when my parents got old. But they did. Especially my mom. And the majority of my memories of my mom come from when she was my age. What?! How did I get to be so old. Or rather when did my mom start withdrawing into silence when she used to be the life of the party.

Part of me likes being an adult. I'm in the prime of my life. Another part of me longs to be a kid with unlimited access to my mom. It's possible that she'll die while I'm in Brazil. I know life isn't guaranteed and anyone can say that. But my mom's health has deteriorated over the last ten years and it makes me sad. She's not the same as before. She's quiet. Lets my dad do the talking. She moves slowly. And since her broken pelvis from a fall last month she isn't really moving at all these days.

Part of me wants to be with her. Part of me knows that it's too late to change the past. It's not even like I'd change too many things. I've had more time with my mom than my siblings as I've lived in the same city as she has and they're a bit further away. But still...I think what I long for are the days when we would read the same book and have discussions while making dinner. The days when we'd plan a party and the food menu and she and my dad would lead a bunch of teens in games. The literati parties we put on every Christmas for a few years after Sister Womyn Sister days. And sometimes I'd sneak into her bed and we'd just lay there and talk about whatever.

The mother I want to know existed long before I came along. How did her experiences shape her? How did she like motherhood? How did she like marriage? Did she ever have a crisis of faith? When life got hard, how did she cope? Was she happy? Because I don't think I thought about her as a person. She was my mother. And that roll is so powerfully strong that sometimes I think kids forget there's a person underneath.

My mother is a real person. One that my children have many memories of...mostly going over to watch movies and eat caramel popcorn. Because my mom wanted me to go on dates with my husband. I can only assume that she wished she had such a luxury as a young mother. Her four children are within five years of each other. We were very close. And my children are, too....but I one-upped her by having my first five within five years. Ha ha. She knew it was hard. She wanted to have a relationship with my children.

I didn't know my grandparents super well...though I lived with my mom's mom for 3 months after my grandfather died. My mom wanted to be involved in my kids' regular lives and she was. She always made time for grandparents day at school and she and my dad came every year for Veteran's day.

I just don't want to say goodbye. As fantastic as life after death sounds...the reality of the pain of loss and sharpness of grief terrifies me. How did my mom do it when her mother died? What helped her press forward? Those are the questions I want to ask now. To lie in bed and talk about the important things. Our relationships. How to love even when it's hard. How to move forward even when the sugar coated past lulls us reliving our time there.

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