Beltane and the Moon of Mourning
Sunday gratefuls: Kate wearing sandals in the snow. Kate explaining the physiology of Raynauds. Kate laughing with her sisters. Rich Levine, a good man. Sofia. Carving her own path. Tara. A good woman. Bees. Bee equipment. Driving in the Mountains. Hawai’i. Joe and Seoah.
Sparks of Joy: Lincoln, Rich’s Dog friend. Judaism.
Mother’s Day. A long distant holiday for me. Mom died in 1964. That’s 47 years ago. The age she was when she died. I celebrated it with Raeone and Joseph. Then with Kate, Joseph, and Jon. A few times with Jen, Jon, Ruth, and Gabe.
A Hallmark day. Meant for the selling of greeting cards. Yet transformed into a day for awkward efforts at breakfast, trays for eating it in bed. A chef mother I heard on NPR described her children gathering flowers and weeds for her.
I can’t remember what we did with my Mom. Mary probably can. Maybe went over to Mangas Cafeteria in Elwood. Eating out fancy for us back then. Linen napkins, heavy silver ware, the food under glass in fancy dishes. Or, what seemed like fancy dishes to me.
Moms, like Dads, inspire a full range of emotions. Deep and lasting love to deep and lasting hatred. I’ve seen both.
As I’ve grown older, certain character traits of my Mom have seemed more and more important. She was a mitzvah mother, always ready to help at church, at school, with her family. She was kind. She loved us kids and that love helped me love myself, even after a pretty rocky period in my twenties.
Her sudden death and its terrible aftermath clouded my memories of her for so many years. Over time the smog of complicated grief began to lift and I could see her again. A traveler who made it to Capri, Algiers, Rome. A WAC in WWII. A small town girl, a really small town, who saw more of the world than most women her age. More than Dad, by far.
When Kate and I made it to Capri, I looked for Mom, her fleeting ghost. She must have been delighted. I still have a couple of postcards she brought back featuring the blue Grotto and the streets of this historic island. Tiberius ruled Rome from his villa there.
I’ve not been to Africa even now, after many visits to Europe and to Asia, Latin America.
Losing a mom is different, more primal I think, than losing a wife. Mom’s are, in most cases, (not Joseph’s which is why I mention it.) that most amazing of all creatures on earth, ones who can reproduce their species. In all cases relationships with our mothers is foundational. That’s not the case for all relationships with fathers who could, in my generation, be distant, difficult.
Jon and Joe are, if I’m right here, going through a different, perhaps more profound loss than even I am. And mine’s plenty profound. For sure different.
Kate was a small town girl, too, as I was a small town boy. I’ve always imagined that it was that small town upbringing, small towns in the agricultural Midwest, that helped us understand each other at a level below conscious awareness.
Mother’s Day. Or, as in Minnesota, fishing opener.