Postcard #28: Another Mother’s Day Without Mom

I almost did not write anything today. I almost did not sleep. My heart was sore with the familiar ache I get when I desire something I cannot touch. No matter how much I can hear and sense the beyond, I cannot break the veil, only try for a reach. I stretch out my arms, rise up on toe-tips, groan to make myself as long and as tall as much as I can, but nature still limits me to my shape, my size, my squat, short, smallness…

I have meditated often on this body of mine, seeking to manifest a transformation, yet first the body tells me it wants to stay this way, it is thickly rooted, as heavy as my mother, my grandmothers, all the mothers… They were stout, strong, stubborn creatures, hard workers, elbows and little hands rolling out bread dough, making babies and pastries, baking and pulling, great at caressing as much as they must have been at holding.

My mother was a Venus of Willendorf which seemed a curse to her, and a premonition of what was to become of me. Never seen as holy, always unhealthy, the reason for strings of diets and self-abuse, too much time and energy wasted on the surface, not on substance. Mom and mine’s battles with body image were the same. As I age, I see more of her emerge out of me, and I promise her I will take better care of myself like I wished I could have taken better care of her.

She does not want me to follow her to the grave too soon.

Even though my mother passed some time ago, she still lives in me and all around me. As her daughter, I am a living being saturated with her love, hopes, emotions… maybe still a reservoir for the tears she shed. I still feel guilty for our disagreements, fights long ago forgiven, but… Why am I not looking back and forward with joy now?

I believe I miss having the duty of caring for my sick and dying mother. I got so used to her in that bed. Like an infant she was, curled up, squeaking out her words, her skin baby-soft, hair silk-fine, and her expression frozen-pure, those eyes of hers looking up at me so wide. I enjoyed feeding her and wiping the corners of her mouth. Every month I would take photographs of my nephews, even try to sneak ones of my brother, the excuse was that I was doing so to document their faces for mother, and I’d print the photos and pin them to her cork board. I would decorate her room like I would have a dorm room, fill it with images of everyone she loves, faces smiling and looking back at her, so at any moment of pain she’d be reminded she’s being prayed for, thought of…

I don’t have that duty anymore. Tried to start it up with my father. Attempted to assist my brother with duties he needed to get done. All I got was their anger and contempt. What use am I now to anyone? I then seek a cause. I volunteer. Yet nothing so far is proving to be a right fit for me.

Oh, Mom, what would you recommend?

You would say just go to church, yet you know I don’t have a need for that. You know I’m a Witch. So what is church for a Witch? I can almost hear her laugh. “You know that answer, Tina!” The first image that comes to my mind is my sketchbooks. My little pencil drawings of gods and spirits — the visions I’ve been collecting in secret — a lonely project so far, and one I feel is too special to share on the internet.

Mommy, who has any use for me?

First you need to discover how useful you are to yourself. Help yourself. Put what I’ve taught you into action. You’re not supposed to make a life taking care of everyone else. You are free. The world is before you. Where do I begin? Just take one step forward. Where do I place that first step when I do not know the road to take? You are already on the road. You’re just standing there. All you need do is move.

I remember dreams, plans, wishes, ideas, all the desires I thought possible before I got heart-sick with lonesome, worry, and loss. Before I got stuck here thinking that this is all that’s left for me. Why do I still feel like my life is not meant to be my own alone? I feel like I am meant to partner up, be supportive, lend a hand, or a heart, and yet I resent this feeling. I am best alone, too. My mother always would want me to be married and make a family, but whenever she used to ask me if I had a boyfriend, and I gave her my usual answer, she would say, “you never did want a normal life.”

After someone has died, why is it that sometimes we remember small things they said in passing as being so big? Am I just putting more meaning to it all to create some comfort for myself? Is it possible that I will be going through the grieving phases for the rest of my life?

I still have parts of my mother’s funeral bouquet; myrtle and palm leaves, baby’s breath, dried roses, all hanging about the front window of my home. I re-discovered the photographs of the dying flower arrangement and re-display one of them here. Like a cloudy old painting it seems, and it comes with the memory of its perfume, the arrangement itself was a poem of sympathy that, to this day, when I smell the same combination of flowers it reminds me funerals. I should not hold on to these reminders anymore. Perhaps this is why this second Mother’s Day without Mom is hitting me hard. There is no more need to hang on to the reasons why I put my life on hold. There are no more excuses for me to stay here alone. I can choose whatever I want to do now.

There are no more obligations. Nothing to tie me down. With freedom comes nothing to lose… but I’m reaching out for something to keep. Because that’s what keeps us living, right? A thing to work for and look forward to. A cause. Like a duty, but not a necessary obligation, more like a desire, a following-the-heart that never gets me lost.  Advice today from a friend: it tends to reveal itself…  It better reveal itself soon.

Til then, thank you, Mom!


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