9/3/09

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER | MY MOTHER


My mother Suzanne died a few days before school started in 1965. She was 42 years young with five children and a great husband, my father. September 3, 1965 changed all of our lives forever. The imprint of this loss has never left any of us, and runs deep on a cellular plane. Sometimes, it rises to the surface and I suddenly wonder how everything might have been different if she had lived. Would we have met for cocktails, visited museums, and laughed together? Would she have approved of our boyfriends and choice of colleges? I’ve naturally identified with people who have lost a mother for most of my life. I was Buffy in Family Affair, Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, a von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Susan Minot in her book Monkeys, and even David Egger’s in his book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Egger’s book made me stop and realize that I too, swept up my little brother and vowed that we would stand tall and be great, and charge forward with life. But now we ask, can we stop and slow down? Even just a bit? We are not running but we are holding on. The last of our mother’s friends are soon at death’s door - our final tightening grasp on to the world when she was in it. Then we remember. We are real. We are here. We are strong. We are happy. We are whole. We are great. We let go… for just a moment, but then the late August light begins to fade into September as evenings become brisk, and our spirits go back again to our last September day with her. And, we are sad.

18 comments:

  1. With such losses, some of our lives are lived in another dimension, seeing the events of our lived lives through the eyes and hearts of those we've lost. The two dimensions converge in your heart.

    Whatever you feel in your heart today, and forever, is there because of the life and love she gave you, physically present or not.

    My heartfelt thoughts to you and your wonderful siblings...

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  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother. It is sad to think of what might have been and frustrating the think of the unfairness when those we love are taken far too soon.

    My best,
    Tricia

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  3. I never met your mother, but I knew her husband and I know her 3 daughters. That is enough for me to know she was a refined and fun woman who had and shared a lot of joy and love.

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  4. Thank you Marty - Napkin Dad Extraordinaire! ox B

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  5. A beautiful tribute, Barbara. Thanks for sharing this!

    Sean

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  6. What a beautiful tribute to your mother. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It gives me reason to pause and spend some time thinking about what is really important in life.

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  7. What an incredibly touching story.

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  8. Boo - you are the talented, generous artist you are because of both your genes and your life without Suki. My appreciation of my mother was deeply altered by loving you as a young teen girl...the pebble in the pond. Suzanne changed my life too. My mother said that she was a beautiful women with poise and grace and oh yes, 5 children. My mother always admired Jerry for honoring Suzanne's legacy! I love this tribute - there are no words. Boo

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  9. Thank you all for your loving, sweet comments... ox Barbara

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  10. lovely photograph and beautifully written text...
    struck a nerve with me, for sure ...

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  11. Thank you Robin for the gift of the word {saudade}.

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  12. Your words are so beautifully put down and such a magnificent tribute to your mother. It caught my eye because of the terrific photo of your mom but then to find out it was such a moving story. My mom is much older than yours was but is in her last weeks of dying from cancer. I can't imagine what it'd be like to be young and loose her. I'm 52 & I feel like child, wondering how there can be a world without her in it? Thanks for sharing, it helps. It really does. xx

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  13. Dear D.T. Thank you for reading my mom post and if this helps you during this enormously difficult and personal time, I am grateful. Being "present" with love in each moment is all you can do. In fact, it's what becomes important with every day... and, this is often the gift that mothers teach us. oxo

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  14. Each day is a gift and I always am reminded of this by so many good things and good people around me. Beautful image and your words are lovely.
    pve

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  15. Thank you for reading my mom tribute Patricia. I love your drawings for My Sparrow. They are just as lovely as can be! ox

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  16. Barb,
    I have no words but to tell you that this will always tug at my heart. So moving of you to post...
    Have been thinking about you lately and hope you are well my friend.
    xo Lisa

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  17. just lovely, Barb. Outstanding words and so, so thoughtful and self-reflective and sad and heartwarming at the same time.

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