A belated mother’s day offering, and thank you.
It has been 10 years since you died.
There are times that I cry with grief that you are not here with me, with us now. My tears well up, sometimes I cry out loud, sometimes, quietly. No matter, the pain is the same, an ache in my chest that feels like it wants to rip its way out.
The girls and I miss you so very much. I know others do as well. We keep you alive with tins that seem like something you would have had and talk about how you would have liked this or that. I arrange flowers, always wondering what you would say, offer, and critique.
It is said that grief is love with nowhere to go. That seems right. There is a hole in our lives where you were. And, now with the pandemic, I mean, who would have thought that this would be in our lifetime? Who would have thought that you and I and the girls would not have been altogether to get through this?
Well, it brings to mind the stories you told about being so poor that the depression wasn’t even felt by you, your sister, mom, and dad. And the stories about other life-altering circumstances like Diptheria at 2, Scarlet fever at 7, with no antibiotics, only use of the Cook County hospital and the home quarantined for both. Your mother nursed you to health each time. I never heard about your sister’s experience of it all. I do know she grew into a full-fledge hypochondriac, something I never understood, and now I can see why she did. You talked of your mother holding warm compresses to your abscessed ear with the fever. You spoke of the new antibiotic penicillin, which you were allergic to. You talked about the apartments you lived in and how bags of hand-me-downs sat at the front door, waiting for you to remodel and how the wolf was at each door. So, you moved often.
I search your words and stories for wisdom when I feel afraid and lack trust. What would you say now? I think I know. I want to believe I know. I am so grateful, which is a word I don’t use lightly.I am grateful that your words are in my head.
You would say, “This is the shits.” and shake your head with profound disgust. But somehow, your creativity would rise to the surface, and you would find a way through. Maybe something like the kids and I are doing now. Being resourceful, forging on, keeping your chin up, and telling me to do that as well.
Though you wouldn’t have chosen it and didn’t feel like it, we were warriors together, you and I. I love you for giving me that.