Sunday, May 9, 2010
Mother's Day 2010
Mama at one time had the most beautiful hair, and the henna gave it a reddish cast (nowhere near as red as in this painting) and I can still remember her brushing it. Norma Jean inherited that same luxuriant hair, but mine has always been sparse. When I had hair long enough to put into braids, they were always anemic looking. My mother at one time would plait her hair into one long braid and coil it several times around her head, making it look like a crown. She secured it with bobby pins (remember those?).
Memories are funny, aren't they? I remember these things so clearly, but they don't exist any more, except in my head. Where did they go? What is this thing called memory? I remember long ago wondering where the little girl I once was went. If we do indeed survive this life of the flesh in some afterlife, what does our spirit look like? The baby I once was, the young mother Mama once was, do they still exist in some form?
I find myself wondering now, in retirement, having done all the things I can think of that might be on my "bucket list," what's next? Is the next great adventure the one where I pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, confronting my fears and letting go of all I know? Part of the gift of life is its ephemeral nature. Poof, six decades of living: gone. A couple more ahead of me, maybe, just a moment in the temporal scheme of things.
Sitting here, contemplating my two sons who died before me, but still giving me motherhood as a permanent state; my mother and grandmother who still live radiantly in my memory, where are they now? In my dreams, it seems so natural to hug and kiss them all. I wrap my arms around them and feel their warmth, solid and real as life itself.
One thing I do know: as I pass through the stages of life and ready myself to leave late middle age and enter old age, I feel less fear about the future and more equanimity and serenity about the way things move and change. I think I am preparing myself for the next phase. I can't yet work up any excitement about it, but fear and dread also seem to be fading into the distance.