Posted in Lanscape of Loss, My Bonnie

17 Years~From the Other Side

For 17 years, I’ve loved my mother.
From the other side.
She had a kind heart.
Fastened, shut.
A noble mind.
Rarely cruel.
She loved me with tenderness
And maybe envy
though I never sensed it.
She hid so well.
Her deepest desires couldn’t find her.
She tended others
and took little herself, and then
Everything.
Gentle was her soul
And sharp as stone.
A beacon and a martyr.
Her consciousness vast
Fed daily by study and contemplation and conversation.
Her compassion instructive
Large enough to include those who sought to injure us,
Forbearant to a fault.
She was an alcoholic.
She abandoned her children.
She had 10 years sober.
She made amends.
Some too late.
Some just right.
Just home from rehab, she apologized to me over lunch at an Italian restaurant.
I immediately vacated my body, terrified of what it would mean–to both of us–to accept.
She came to me when I lost the baby.
Sat beside me on my couch.
Let me fall into her body.
Set her arms around me, as I sobbed.
But the flesh of her presence was a mirage.
Just a bag of bony angles.
Protecting her grief, denied…
Perhaps the baby that came before me, or the men who forsaked her, or the fall out with her sisters, or all those mysterious years before she was wife or Mother.
“Kelly, Why are you crying,” she once asked, when my best friend’s father died in his sleep.
“Kelly, Why do you need those,” she asked, when that same friend and I split a pack of pads between us.
“Kelly, Not now,” she said, when I asked her to tell me about her life just before she orphaned 8 children–two still at home, another few barely flown, some mothers to grandchildren who hardly knew her and later those who never would.
I sat with my mother as they zipped her into a bag.
I watched as that bag was stowed in the back of a station wagon, much like the one that she drove around town to t-ball games and the wicker store and Wawa for milk & eggs & butter & bread–and always some sugary treat–Bridge Mix, Circus Peanuts, Jellied Nougats, Maple Nut Chews, Milk Maid Royals and endless boxes of Entemanns–soberly sweetening all that had soured around her.
17 years later and she is still making the rounds.
She comes as Muse, as companion, as witness.
She admires my courage.
Champions my boundaries.
Kisses my forehead.
Loves me still.
Bows to the awesome depth of my presence.
Delights that it still includes her.

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Posted in Lanscape of Loss, Markers, My Bonnie

Cricket Song

the windows open on the first warm June night–humid and occupied–with the sound of crickets–serves as a time machine

Like the hour of the night in which I wake to write,
I was 11 going on 12,
which is to say, what I knew, I knew
through the body.

So that even after my mother came back,
and I relaxed again in her steady presence,
I did so at a loss to her.

Not the loss of the bottle.
But the word: NO.
Her sense of self, beyond role.
A small bit of wild seeking space to take hold.

Barely in her thirties.
A mother of 4.
I should have let her go.

But we needed her.
I needed her.
And so she stayed.

Until she was a mother of 6.
Until she disappeared,
little by little,
from the inside.

Until the flame,
left unattended,
burned like wild fire
through our lives.

Posted in Uncategorized

Weeping Day

Welcome to my…

Kelly & Lila

“…When we can no longer think, reason or manage our way out of the crisis we find ourselves in – then what we are left with is instinct…”
~Sharon Blackie

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The wide expanse of Wednesday has long been my precious writing day.

Enter the 2016 election cycle.

I weep now as much as I write, now more than ever, except for once, when I was home alone, in the eighth grade, on a Sunday afternoon, and the television played Born Free.

But that was a flood of grief at once, and this has been leaking for weeks, even before 11/9, ever since the tape–the one that reminded me what it is to be a woman in the United States.

I am heartbroken.

It may be that the President Elect reminds me too much of my paternal figure. (Charismatic. Entitled.) It may be that he reminds me of all the…

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Posted in Uncategorized

Healing the heart of the past

The legacy of the heart…

Two Owls Calling

Many ancient impressions live on in the genes we inherited from our parents and ancestors. These, too, need to be made conscious, lest they manifest as disease or as seemingly inexplicable urges to behave in certain ways or to pursue certain ideas.
(The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Healing with Food, Breath, and Sound;
Maya Tiwari)

My Aunt Trish, in her twenties, just after her mother died of heart disease. My Aunt Trish, in her twenties, just after her mother died of heart disease.

50 is a plateau from which I survey my past and future, following which I enter my “fifties”–the decade (or shortly thereafter) that took a chunk of my relatives–including my mother, her parents, her brother, and just this past week: one of her baby sisters.

Given the overlapping of generations common to large Irish Catholic families, my Aunt Trish and I were teenagers together. When I was in Junior High, we traveled to Disney World and…

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Posted in Lanscape of Loss, My Bonnie

my mother’s table

The house is silent.
The children asleep.
The kitchen empty.

The light above the stove welcomes me home,
even here, in this new house, still a stranger.

My mother’s bedroom
with the man who was first my classmate
is upstairs, with dark sheets,
overlooking the bay.

The kitchen counters, the floors, even the table
are empty
of crumbs
tonight
Whispering to me
at 19
and later at 27
and before at 13 and 11
and even now at 52
in my own hushed and tidied kitchen
sixteen years after we slept in the space where her table stood
on the night she took her last breaths…

All is well.
Rest easy.
She is sober.
Today.

Posted in My Bonnie, Voices

a motherless mother’s chant…

(a guest post from a beloved)

bb9ca5041163ba25e5969b03511ad796I don’t have a mother.
I don’t need a mother.
Because I have him.

I don’t have a mother.
I don’t need a mother .
Because I had them.

I don’t have a mother.
I don’t need a mother.
Because I have her.

I don’t have a mother.
I don’t need a mother.
Because I am.

~Lauren Salasin Czaplicki