Stay at Home Order … day 8 plus 14 seclusion retreat days
The true person is
Not anyone in particular;
But, like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone, everywhere in the world.
Yesterday my mother came to visit…it was a remembered touch that announced her arrival not as the frail woman with a fierce determination time had transformed from the woman who carried with her the stature of Danish Vikings…warriors, explorers, conquerors, survivors. The English genes of a woman whose life was colored by an incessant search for union with God, an unquestioning moral and social mandate, and an aloneness I did not know.
She visited as my mom and walked alongside me as I gathered the ingredients for homemade soup, she watched me — with discerning eyes — as I made the bed and gathered the laundry, and she sat with me as I flipped through a photo book of fading memories. Memories…the mundane moments swept away into darkness by brooms of discontent, negation, and yes…shame. The shame that arises from a felt sense of a marginalized family’s “being different.”
She woke the memory within the shifting images of a night when I saw her sitting alone within the silence of deafness nested within the silence of night. Before her was a topsy-turvy pile of children’s scuffed and worn shoes. I watched her from the doorway, hiding as I did not want to be sent back to bed, slowly polishing each one and then matching them into pairs, forming a straight row — creating a sense of order. When her eyes acknowledged my presence, she invited me to sit alongside her. Moments passed as I felt her listening presence…a mother and a daughter sitting quietly in a dimly lit room, a protective barrier.
As this remembering faded, I felt a gentle gaze that spoke of a silent loving-kindness. It was as if she came from a place of waiting knowing that the barriers that blocked me from being receptive to the multiple color threads that weaved her life had begun to weaken and fade and — for the first time — I entered, felt, and embraced her aloneness. And she, in return, eased the discontent that ebbs and flows throughout this time of uncertain isolation.
I have often wondered, since her passing, that if we had met – not as mother-daughter but as children in a playground would she have wanted to be my friend?
6 replies to “a time of contemplation…”
A very moving piece of prose here Brenda- beautifully written and straight from the heart to the heart. I too have found I long for the company not just of those physically distant but those who have already gone
Thank you, Laura. It is almost as if the stilled quietness is inviting…
Ah, that last line…..
especially when one was a wee bit oppositional and defiant as a child
Poignant, and yes, the last line…
Thank you for visiting…it is an interesting process to acquaint oneself with “mother” as a person who has a unique history separate and unknown.
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