About seven years before my mother died, I decided to create a book for her of positive memories and appreciations I had of her.  My mother was not always the best mother as I was not always the best daughter.  When I made the decision to do this project, I thought I would only have three good memories to write about.  Instead, one memory led to another, and before I knew it, I had five full pages.  Together with contributions from my brothers, this book was the best Christmas present she had ever had.

A few months before she died, we were sitting on the rocking love seat in front of her house.  Though her dementia prevented her from reading the book anymore, she had brought it out as a symbol of my love for her.

I thumbed through the pages and found a story that included Betty, her sister, and asked her if she remembered her.  She then said something I will never forget.  “You liked her better.”

I didn’t know what to say.  My Aunt Betty used to sing songs, tell horrible jokes, and taught me to bake pies.  I adored her.   Our relationship lacked any of the complications of my relationship with my mother.

But as Mom shared this pointed honesty with me, my heart filled for her, for her challenges as a mother, for her jealousy of her sister.  As painful as these words were, I couldn’t and didn’t want to deny this truth that neither of us had ever shared with the other.  We had never talked about how close I felt to Betty, or how distant I often felt from her.  Maybe I pretended that she never noticed, knew, or cared that I would light up when Betty came over.  How I had been sulking or sullen just before.

But in this moment, her lack of accusation, her defenseless simplicity, her bold candor hung between us with both the heaviness of a broken heart and the freshness of a Spring rain.  Instead, I lifted her fingers to my lips, kissed them, and tenderly held hands with her as we rocked together in front of her adobe house that she loved.


Mom — 5 Comments

  1. This story is so familiar to me Jozeffa and actually between mothers and daughters this is an archetypal story. Thank you for your generosity in sharing. Katherine Moore.

  2. As I read this I was back at the adobe house where we stopped and where I met your mom and your son. It is wonderful that you had the opportunity to visit the past while in the present and to share such a special gift with your mom. Linda

  3. Wonderful story and good writing Jozeffa! I am glad you had this intimate moment of shared truth with your Mom. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us. Love, Wendy

  4. Thank you, Jozeffa, for your honesty and insight. It really touched me. I loved my mother, but didn’t like her very much. We never had this conversation. I don’t know either of us wanted to. Love, Coy

  5. I loved my grandma dearly even though she was not always the easiest cup of tea. I have so many memories of her and am glad she was a part of my life.

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