Sunday, May 12, 2013

Remembering Mom

Mom and I twirled through life on separate pages; the distance between us chapters long. Unlike a well written story, we rarely melded in harmony of plot or theme. We never dotted our “T’s” alike; she maintained her own point of view, while I nourished mine - deepening the conflict of our spirited characters.

Without any specific or dramatic declaration, we entered into an unraveling time in our lives where everything changed; I became an adult; an employee, and eventually a mother. I became responsible for others. I set examples. I enforced rules. I loved and I punished. I was adored and disliked.  I became my mother.

With her children grown, silent, empty bedrooms filled mom's life; she faced an involuntary and new starting place. As she gravitated towards her senior years, I rooted myself into my own unique mold of motherhood. I told the mother I became, I wouldn't do what mom did; I'd do it different - my way. Somewhere in the middle of trying to nurture others, I came to accept my mother's many character flaws, for didn't I have many? Where battles once governed our wrecking-ball mother-daughter relationship, understanding took over; tranquility at last entered our lives.

She called my busy office to say hello; sometimes just to hear my recorded voice; she said it comforted her. I returned the calls - in time; heard her loneliness and longing to see me - me, the one that she was most at odds with. Then, like the change in seasons - one day, one year, and without foreshadow, my mom and I finally met on the same life page.

In earlier years and angrier moments, my mother cried I would cause her to die of a broken heart. Decades later, she did struggle with complications from heart disease, and peacefully passed. By that time, we had already reconciled. When she passed, I consoled myself knowing that my mom and I had made peace; I wasn't the cause of her bad heart; I had been the cure all along; age and disease had been the culprit - not I.

I vividly remember the first spring after mom's passing. The golden rods of Forsythia ('for Cythina,' as I called the flowering bush when I was a child) were in bloom, accompanied by pleasant temperature all day and into the night. I traveled into Manhattan to take in a play. While riding the escalator to the theater's main lobby, I inadvertently noted the mothers and daughters that surrounded me. I abruptly turned my head from their lively laughter; a shield against their animated, joyful conversations. Their elated banter filled my sore heart with jealousy. How dare they! Through tears, I realized how much I missed my mom. I wanted my mom. I remembered thinking it was a few days before Mother’s Day; I stood alone, without my mom. I no longer had an earthly mother. The idea of being an orphan filled me.

Yesterday, while shopping for bathing suits, a dreaded task, I noted women shopping for their moms. After all the years, the loss of my mother stirred, causing quiet tears.

Although the rainbow of understanding between my mother and I appeared late in our lives, I'm grateful for its warming brilliance. I'm grateful, as well, to have known my mom - Mary Marie, and perhaps better understand why she choose her life steps. I've learned to accept it all - with the unbreakable love only a daughter can give.

My Mom

Copyright © 2013-2014 Jeralyn Lash-Sands


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Jeralyn. A relationship between mother and daughter can be so complex. The era that our mothers grew up in was so different from ours and often more challenging. The longer my mother is gone, the more I understand her.

  2. Sounds like your Mom was a bit like mine. She's passed too and I miss her, especially at certain times of the year,