Mar 3, 2010

When Moms Come to Visit

My mom showed up in the wee hours of the morning last night because she had something important to ask. Before I knew it she plopped comfortably on our soft leather couch and was softly distant. But it was Mom, and so her middle of the night visit was somehow quite natural. It seemed silly of me to get too excited.

"Why are you here, Mom?

"Oh, we've come to see the little curly-headed one," she replied. We? I didn't see my Dad with her. I put that aside for the moment.

"Chuck? You've come to see him," I surmised matter-of-factly. The oldest of my five brothers, he alone inherited curly, thick, blonde locks. The Cherokee bloodline failed to reach him through all the German thickness of head and heart. But he is by far the tallest of us all. To me he is almost a stranger, the difference in our years meant he was gone from our home before I was old enough to be aware of his presence. I was pondering this when she continued.

"Yes," she said. And then she grew even more distant, not looking at me but saying plainly, "You must pray for him, you know." She said it in that halting and serious manner she has when she is uncomfortable but determined to broach the difficult topics.
_____

At that moment I awoke and sat bolt-upright in my bed and began to pray, first for my own astonished soul to see if it could be fit to pray for my obstinate and proud brother.

I flashed to several years ago and remembered how angry I was with my brother, when he lashed out at my mother just days after her passing. "Fuck off and die!" was my answer to his emails that wanted to blame her for allowing so many of my Father's shortcomings. For knowing what she knew. For not being a stronger woman. As if raising eight kids and being entirely dependent on their father for their sustenance wasn't her only option back in her day. As if my heart wasn't broken at her passing. He didn't understand, and he callously wanted to defend our father when the rest of us were just short of wondering if Dad's narcissism hadn't killed our mother in some Munchausen-by-proxy way.

I had heard some months back that my brother now has cancer. The VA isn't giving him solid answers or options but my brother is placing all his hope in positive thinking and the power of his profession of health. Which had me thinking, while praying for him, that our words carry weight, even those spoken in the heat of heartache.

So it came about in my midnight meditation that it was I who needed forgiveness for rash curses before I could pray properly for my equally proud and rash brother. I could but mutter, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner." And then I could muster a pittance of prayer for my poor brother.

I called my sister, the eldest of us all, and related the visitation. She didn't doubt for a moment that Mom had indeed, come to ask for prayer for her son. I swear, we could all be the Devil's own footlings and she would still believe, speak the best, cover for us, excuse us, and still want the best for us.

I talk to my Mom in my thoughts and heart all the time. I suppose I shouldn't be astonished that she would talk to me, and indirectly lead me to my own absolution, helping me to feel the spiritual deficit of my own soul in a fervent need to pray for my brother's very life and soul.

Moms never let go, it seems.

13 comments:

Gecko said...

I've got to admit this piece brought a tear to this old bags eye. I was thinking, what if I pray for your brother and you pray for mine.

Ex-Dissident said...

Joan,
In a real physical way, your mom has remained with you, inside you. When you were still in the uterus, and you both were bonded through the placenta, some of your mother's cells crossed over into your body. These were white blood cells which protected you from infections when your own immunity was still too young and immature. Some of these cells are called natural killer cells and they roam your body searching out cancer cells and destroying them, and they live a very long time. Although most natural killer cells in your body were made by you (combined from your mother's and father's dna), a few immigrated from your mother. You imparted this gift to your children as well. We fathers can only donate a few strings of DNA, but mothers give so much more of themselves.

Jean said...

Mothers love so strong, they cannot let go.
Wishing peace and strength to you and your brother.

pamibe said...

Our mothers can indeed reach out and touch us from the other side...

I'll pray for your brother, Joan.

Ever thought about writing a book?

jwm said...

Joan, my friend, this was one of those incidents where that vast web of coincidence that enmeshes us all has turned to deliver me a message that I sorely needed to hear. My mom has been quite ill lately, and has become very dependent on me for everything. And I'll confess, I've frequently felt resentful, and often angry at the sudden restrictions this has put on my daily life and routine. I try to keep a level head about it, and I fail more often than I succeed. Your post put so much into perspective. Thank you.

John M

LauraB said...

I find it gently amusing that she didn't speak his name...as though that information was so distant or without meaning to her, now.

It was a gift, indeed. I am glad you were able to see it as such...even in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...

My father has been gone for over 10 years now. He still visits me in my dreams occasionally, not nearly so profoundly as this episode with your mother, but still. The first few times it happened, I didn't quite understand and assumed it was some distant memory entering my dreams. I know better now. Last time I was able to see him he made up a completely new word that I'd never heard before. McGoofup as in a goofup that only McDonalds could pull off. I love my dad and I miss him terribly. I am quite grateful whenever he comes around.

Mark

Joan of Argghh! said...

I'm glad enough that some read it and thought enough to comment.

You know how the finger hovers over the "publish" button.

I have a folder full of drafts. . .

Thanks, all.

Froth said...

Oh, Joan. I believe for sure that our souls and brains and hearts receive all sorts of messages. Bless you. How hard and important things you've been through.

Hugs and prayers and vibes.

Jim - PRS said...

That was an amazing and touching post.

Daphne said...

Mom's never let go, you know that bite of personal truth with your own children.

That your mother still graces your life should come as no surprise. You have the sight, no?

Bou said...

My mother in law visited me at the exact time of her death. I was in bed sleeping. My husband was at the hospital sitting vigil by her bed. (We had 3 small children so someone had to be home.) When he came home, I told him she had come to be at 1:30. He said that was when she died.

She has come one time since, an odd dream I've never posted, but in essence she told me that we needed to realize she was a human, not a saint, she had flaws, and we needed to treat her as such, not cannonize her.

And she's never been back. I often wish she'd come again. It's been 10 years. I miss her.

Retriever said...

Beautiful post.