I am reading a journal dated fall and spring 1985-86. I visited my mother's home at Christmas 1985. I found this lovely description of my mother, who died in 1993, which is almost as if written by a stranger (I don't remember writing it at all!). Mama was born in 1923 and died before she turned seventy. I found this description of her, dated "Saturday night after the Winter Solstice 12/21":
I watched Mama today make fudge and noticed that she "fudged" often on her no-sugar diet. She often waxes eloquent on her lack of a sweet tooth, but I know better. Somehow it doesn't count when you're cooking. But I watched her being happy today, too. We worked hard, her harder than me; she made four loaves of homemade bread (yum!), more cheese balls, and, of course, the fudge.
Tonight I watched her become animated as she talked with Richard about her golfing days. I thought of her damaged heart as she poured in the alcohol and sugar, but somehow it didn't matter in the way it did before. I recognize her loss to me will be great, but as hard as it is to picture this vital loquacious woman gone from the face of the earth, no one can deny that she is enjoying herself today. She lives close to the edge and I admire her immensely -- once I remove my judgment about what she should be doing... Many lessons here for me to learn for myself.
A description: She sits in a chair as though at a bar after 18 holes of golf, relaxed and talkative. Her left hand holds her drink, her right gestures characteristically, almost royally, as she tells her story. A flush creeps into her cheeks and across her nose, giving the illusion of health. Ruddy-bright, eyes sparkling with good humor and wit. Her torso is thick, but somehow she carries it with good grace, and the long slim legs give her the look of a dancer, a chorus girl perhaps. One can imagine her as a young beauty queen. And she is still, to this day, a beauty.
When she is home during the day, unmade-up, no prosthesis covering the mutilation performed a decade and a half ago upon her body, she is even more interesting. Her left shoulder is higher than the right, the scar tissue having drawn tight across the collarbone, and the strange flatness across her chest is somehow protective of that area. Great trauma has visited this body, and the spirit has molded it and made it beautiful, in defiance of the cold merciless surgery that has been perpetrated upon it. She is my mother, and I love her.
And yes, now she is gone, and the journal entry made her presence jump out of the page and into my heart. I still miss her after all these years, and I am blessed to have her with me once again in memory. I took this picture of her when she came to visit me in Boulder.
I'm thankful for you, and for your journals. I know you read this to me over the phone, but somehow it has a greater impact when I read it for myself. Mom was an incredibly special woman.ReplyDelete
Straight from the heart. Beautifully written. I wish I had kept journals. I never wanted anyone to ever be able to pick them up and read my thoughts, so I never recorded anything. All I have is what is in my head. Yours are real treasures.ReplyDelete
BTW As a side note to your brother - I would follow his blog but he doesn't have that option available.
You are so very lucky that you keep journals. I so wish that I had!! I loved reading your words!!ReplyDelete
That was a beautiful description of your mother, obviously written with much love and admiration.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful and beautiful lady your mother must have been. Just by reading your words, I wish I'd had known her, talented, colorful, ladyike, beautiful and most definately a loving mother.ReplyDelete
A beautiful piece of writing, I think you carry a lot of her traits and personality.
Hi DJ, with all those written on your journal about your Mom I can picture her well with your descriptions. How nice of you to have written all those precious memories about Mom. I should have written a journal about her, I missed her a lot.ReplyDelete
I just wanted to tell you that I thank you for being a friend DJ.
This is really lovely. I love that you painted a picture of her with your words. It's a great testament to who she must have been. It makes me want to go scribble images of my loved ones.ReplyDelete
I know you have feared what you'd find in those journals. I am certain that there is a great deal of heartache chronicled in those pages, but isn't it nice to have found something wonderfully uplifting as well?
That was a beautiful tribute to your mother. I'm so glad you could see through the "rules" to your mother enjoying herself. I wish I could have had as much forsight as you did on that day. I pestered my Dad, and now I just wished I'd given him what he wanted. It made absolutely no difference in the end.ReplyDelete
My Scorpio tendencies toward secrecy must keep me from journaling. Like it's a secret I want to share only when I'm in control. Maybe having my little brother break into my diary at 13 has something to do with it. Ha.
A lovely, sensitive read and a good picture to go with it. If you can stand the emotion, I think you will enjoy going back through these old journals.ReplyDelete
Awwwww..I love that you love her, warts and all...so unconditionally...and that you catch yourself when you are judging her all at the same time...ReplyDelete
I miss my mother too...I went through a time when I dwelled too long on how she could have been a better mother, but then realized she wasn't that bad in many things she had to face in life....
I am glad you kept your journals and can "revisit" these feelings and memories of her again.
I wish I had kept at least better records of things as they passed – maybe not journals but at least some records as now when I remember a trip I am not sure of the year and I forgot most of the names of the people in my old pictures. Your mother looked like a warm person – it is hard to realize that one’s mom is gone. I still dream of my mom a few times a week and it helps. I forget the dreams when I wake up but I feel better the rest of the day.ReplyDelete
The thing that was so special about Mom is that she was someone different for each of her six children. Sometimes I think if we all described Mom individually, she would seem to be someone different in each of our eyes. I miss calling her on the phone and feeling she heard my issues and helped me cope. She was indeed a very special person. She had so many talents and such an inquiring mind. She always downplayed her intelligence, but she was really smart.ReplyDelete
Hi! I've nominated you for an award! Come over to visit: http://secretsforhappyness.blogspot.com/ReplyDelete
What a real treat to have those journals! The description of your mother was wonderful.ReplyDelete
Beautifully written. Did you know way back then, that you were so talented?ReplyDelete
A beautifully written piece DJan, it paints a lovely portrait of your mother. She sounds like a wonderful woman with many talents.ReplyDelete