Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Son of the Mother

It’s Christmas month and I wanted to write a series of Christmas memories. I even had most of them written in my head already. In a quiet room I would all of a sudden start laughing as I composed a memory of “Christmas Past”.

This is not a Merry Christmas Memory. It is sharing a partners Christmas pain ......

John’s mother died Thursday night.

It didn’t come as a complete surprise, but the impact of that final phone call was devastating nonetheless.

I think I have cried as much or more then John has. The loss of my own mother is still new enough that the loss of another mother seemed almost too harsh.

I wasn’t intimately acquainted with John’s mother. She was deaf and unable to talk on the phone, but we shared messages on the computer and exchanged cards.

Men deal with grief differently then women do. John has become quiet and withdrawn. I know that he has shed his share of tears; his eyes tell the story. But those tears have had to stay private.

Losing a mother is losing our connection. Our mother’s are our beginning. When they leave us we have to learn to stand and walk alone knowing that never again can we hold the hand that was always there to hold ours.

John is the oldest child, as am I. The oldest child feels a greater responsibility to hold the father, the brothers, and the sisters close. To be strong for those that grieve just as the lost mother would have done. I can see those feelings running across John’s face. I can see the memories of childhood playing out in his head. I can hear the moaning of grief in his sleep.

John’s sense of humor will return. His smile will return too. And always in his head will be the memory of when he was packing to come to live in California. He was going through some old boxes looking for things that he thought he couldn’t live without and there among the stored treasure he found a scrap book. Turning the pages of the scrap book he found many years worth of articles that he had written for various papers. His mother had quietly cut out and pasted his writing history. He had no idea she had done that.

When he told me that story there was a beautiful smile of wonder on his face.

Christmas will now always remind John of his mother’s leaving. That is a sad thing for him to think of today, but tomorrow and the many tomorrow’s of his life will be filled with the wonder of being the son of his mother. John will find that wonder soon. He is a writer and his words are his fulfillment. She is in there in those unformed words and he will smile as he finds her.

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