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Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Mother's Daughter

I was curled up fetus-like on the bed.  Hands in fists that held on to the blanket like a lifeline.  The tears had stopped flowing for some time, exhausted for the night.  I kept my eyes shut although every detail of the room was already etched in my memory.  Trinkets and remnants of a life lived together.  Their presence loomed all around me, a reminder of what was lost. 

Someone opened the door, footsteps quick and light on the hardwood floor.   

Leave me alone.  My whole body stiffened, preparing itself to tune out any outside noises so the mind could continue to flounder in misery.

I felt familiar arms lifting me up.  "Ssshhh... It's okay...  it's okay...."  It was my mother's voice.  She cradled me close to her heart, and gently rocked me back and forth as she whispered, "I'm here.  It's okay...."  My mother's tenderness a stark contrast to his cruel words spewed forth just moments before.

My mother shouldn't have to see me like this.  Shame and guilt washed over me...  The last thing I wanted to do was to make her sad.  Yet there I was, her only child who recently told her of her failing marriage, curled up in a ball wanting to die.  All I could say to her was, "Mom, I'm sorry...."  I kept my eyes shut, afraid to see myself as viewed through my mother's eyes.

Still holding me close, she told me, "No matter how old you are, you'd still need your mom.  I'm your mother, and I'm here for you.  And so shall you be for your daughter, because she needs her mother."  

Her words brought down whatever defenses I had left.  Again I wept... trails of tears that seeped through the fabric of my mother's clothing.  I held one of her hands and squeezed it tight.  There were no adequate words to describe my gratitude.  

At that moment, I ceased to be anything but her little girl, crying for her mama to make all the wrong things alright.  And she understood.  In silence, she sat there watching over me.  I knew it wasn't over, but that night I let her presence chased my demons away.         

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