My favorite picture in the whole world is a picture of my mom when she is about 2 years old. Its a black and white picture of her dressed in over-alls and standing in a field of poppies. She has a look on her face that says “Now what are you trying to make me do?”. The picture is a little sad but mostly it seems she is unsure of whats next. Her little face with those round puffy cheeks, she looks like a cherub that’s just been told to go sit in the corner. That seems to be the heart of my mom. She has never been one to be told what to do. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I love my mother for the courage that she had to be able to get through those earlier years. She was one of nine children in a very poor family. She was born in a small town in Oklahoma, that I’m not sure even exists anymore. The family left Oklahoma when she was little. Born in 1941, just outside of the dust bowl years, they migrated to California with so many other farm and rail workers.
Her father was of Cherokee Indian decent and her mother of Irish decent. She was the second eldest in that family of nine. My mom didn’t want to sit still like everybody else. She ran away more than once. In those days the cops put you on a bus and sent you back where you came from. After all of these years she finally found the place where she wants to sit still. She must have some past life connection to the old farm house that she lives in with her current husband(number 3). The house is in upstate New York and is more than 200 years old. It was the home of two brothers from France that settled that area. She is spiritually connected to that home. In her words it will be her last home for this life.
I’m working hard to sell my home in Panama so that I can be a part of this time in her life. Whether its 20 years or 2 months, I don’t care. I am feeling the need to connect with her and know the older her. I know she is still full of piss and vinegar but that’s what makes her who she is. She would have never been able to survive all of her six kids and two previous husbands and assorted lovers over the years if she didn’t have some sort of strength and will to survive. I feel like she is ready to know who I am as well. It wasn’t so before.
We have had turbulent times to say the least but its part of our story. Two hard headed broads so much alike not just in demeanor but in looks. I miss her and want to go on walks with her and to cook something up in the kitchen. I want us to dance and laugh like nobody is watching. There isn’t that much fun going on in her life. She is losing her memory. It is a condition we know as Alzheimer’s and there is nothing fun about that. I want to be there for her like she was there for her mom.
Although we know so very little about this condition, I believe its a way to sort of dance on both sides of existence. It must be scarey for her physical self but exciting for her soul to feel both realms. She is married to a hard working man who loves her very much. He is not the true love of her life. My biological father was her true love and best friend for so long but could never exist as a couple for so many reasons. He passed away many years ago and is hanging around waiting for her to be finished here.
He was a cowboy and a real mans man. He once road on horseback through a canyon at night time to visit her. She was married to her second husband at the time. As she told me this story I could visualize him going through the canyon in the middle of the night to reconnect with his true love and soul mate. They were something else, those two. It gives me inspiration that there are men like my dad out there to be found.
So today as I look at the little girl in the picture, I honor her, and who she is now. I set aside all that happened between us that wasn’t astute and open my heart to her as a grown woman. Mother to daughter and daughter to mother. I look forward to all that we will share as we reconnect. I will always see the face of the two year old that lives in her. I love you mom.