“Happy Mother’s Day!” That’s what I’d like to say to My Mother, today. But she is on a journey that has taken her away.
She missed Dad’s birthday party as well as her own earlier this month, and she was not around to wish her baby brother a happy birthday on his 75th.
I thought about getting a card for her several days ago; and some yellow roses (the way we used to). But then I remembered: Mom is away right now, detained. And so, I thought better of it.
Today is the kind of day she liked best. Lots of blue skies and sunshine, as well as the warmth she so much enjoyed. If she was still living in Arizona she would have gone out on the back porch and sat in her swing there, surrounded by little rocks she had collected through the years, and Texas Ranger bushes, and the big orange tree to the west (just beside the clothes line).
Even here in Georgia, she could have enjoyed the small sitting area on the east side of her apartment, beautifully landscaped and manicured. Today, she would have worn a sweater or light coat, I’m sure, since the morning is pleasantly cool, and the temperature today will reach only 70 degrees or so.
But someone else is living in that apartment today; mother has been gone so long that we had to remove her things to make way for someone else to live there.
I am considering going to where she is later today. To visit. It is a quiet place. Good for contemplation. The kind of surroundings where you can ruminate in peace. I know Mother likes that. And I know she enjoys being close to Dad again.
She told me one time after he left that she dreamed he was standing with his big strong arms opened wide, waiting to embrace her, as if he was calling out to her to come to him. And now she has. I’m sure they enjoy being together again. Well . . . as long as Dad has learned to carry on a conversation with her, and is not distracted by the television or the newspaper. Relationships are not without their struggles, are they?
I wonder what books she is reading these days; she loved to read so much.
Oh, who am I kidding? Mother isn’t coming back. And I am still struggling through acceptance of that. I have no mother to send wishes to this year. And the same will be true next month on Father’s Day. They are both gone. And they are not on a trip somewhere.
There is a bond between parent and child that is difficult to explain. I witnessed this when I did work with dependent, neglected, and abused children in Tennessee many years ago. Almost no matter what the nature of the relationship was – be it abusive or loving; neglectful or nurturing – there was a symbiotic tie that bound the child to the parent more tightly than the most intricate knot imaginable.
And I am bound to my mother and father in that same way. They live on in my brother and me. And they do so in a way that goes far beyond what they taught us; it supersedes memory, surpasses DNA, exceeds the natural. There is a very real sense in which we will never be without them.
So . . . no, I cannot say “Happy Mother’s Day” to her, today. Not in person. But . . . I will indeed say it. And I will continue to take her flowers. Yellow roses . . . in my mind’s eye. And in my heart.
And I will preserve her memory, and my Dad’s, not only in this blog but also in the way I live my life. I will pass their legacy on to my children, and my grandchildren. I will tell the stories. I will pass on the traits.
And on Mother’s Day . . . I will wish Mom a blessed day. One day, not so many years from now . . . it will be in person.
What a reunion that will be!