My mother was a lovely woman
I wish I knew her better.
The angst of adolescence pushed us far apart;
The 60s was a decade of division.
I never knew how to cross the divide again,
My own sense of self -- a bridge to do so -- was fragile,
a façade that surely could not hold the weight.
When mother became grandma,
I began to know her bit by bit
But then the rush of childhood memories,
Spawned from my new role as mom,
Swept a wave so large between us that to cross would
Have meant instant death.
My children grew and so did I,
Emerging new as they ventured out to meet the world.
I used all my strength to face the demons of my youth,
Haunting me, keeping me back from knowing myself.
A blanket eased the self-discovery, wrapping me
In the felt experience of humanity, evolution,
of our interconnected Nature,
a oneness much bigger than myself.
The demons shrank to take their place
among all the seeds of potential.
Greed, envy, anger, hate
Kept small in the wake of awareness.
Love, kindness, generosity
Growing as a weeping willow spreads its branches.
But in the course of my own development,
My lovely mother passed away
Taken by a heart crusted from a challenging life
Her lungs eaten alive by Stage 4 cancer.
I held my mother's feet before she passed away,
Loving, forgiving, and reconnecting.
But it was too late
To share the joy of mother and daughter unbounded by a past of pain
To laugh without an edge
To listen without a grimace
To love without agenda.
I found my mother's prize possessions sprinkled throughout
Her apartment when cleaning it out to sell.
Sheep statuettes of all shapes and sizes, colors, and textures.
A metal word PEACE made from nails soldered together.
A rock painted pink with a tulip upon it sprinkled with blue dots
A piece of barnwood with flowers painted by me at the age of 10.
Little symbols of the massive love she held beneath an exterior of conformity,
Unable to sing and dance and color the world with it.
I had a lovely mother
All prim and proper
A lady who never revealed herself, kept behind a perfectly polished exterior
Shaped by a day and age where manners ruled the world.
I know her much better now.
Love you Mom.
Follow Susan Smalley, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/suesmalley