Sunday, September 20, 2009

On Mothers

Today there hangs a new painting on my wall.
Actually, it's not new at all. It's older then I am. But it's the first time it's hung on my wall.
This painting -- of roses -- has hung in my Grandmother's home for... pretty much ever. A friend of hers painted it for her. And I can tell you what hall it hung on at any given point in my life. I remember being a little girl, crawling up on the chair in the room I definitely was not supposed to be in to look closer at this beautiful painting. There was a sharpness to the roses, a dewiness about the leaves that made me feel like they were real. Like I could reach right into that painting and touch them, or gather them and set them on Grandma's polished kitchen table. All through my life, whenever I have been in my Grandma's house, which was just as good as being home, that painting has been a part of the vignette.
And I lost my Grandma in January. And now, today, her painting hangs on my wall. It doesn't look right there. It should definitely, definitely be on her wall. But she is not there to enjoy it, and it centers me to see it there, it reminds me, she is still here somewhere... and watching over me. My grandma, who promised in our many singings to always go "side by side" with me. I know she still is, in many ways, in my heart and sometimes physically, by my side. It still hurts me. She is my dear, dear friend. I miss her fierce friendship as much as I miss her grandmothering. She was such an incredible woman here on earth.
Maybe it has been compounded by the fact that earlier this afternoon Kaje and I were looking through a recent scrapbook. I could even bear to look closely at her pictures, and could almost feel her hand. The sense memory is just so strong. I was enjoying looking at the last family Christmas party, cherishing the memories of her there with us, the pictures of her and my son and daughter. The next page was Christmas. And the next page was her funeral. I felt shocked all over again. Truly, truly shocked. And I remember what it has been like to have her ripped out of my life so painfully. But at least it wasn't searing for very long. Then it was able to just ache. So... progress. Lots and lots of progress.
And now her painting hangs on my wall.

I was looking at my mom tonight. She looks really, really tired. Like she's been through an ordeal again, and it makes me sad that my Mom has been through so much this year. But she is strong, strong, stronger every day. And it fascinates me that all my life I have loved my mom and been proud of my mom, and she has watched over me and been willing to punch anyone in the eye who might trouble me. And now, as an older daughter, I see so much more clearly the woman she is and the goodness she carries and the quirks that are hers alone. And I feel appreciative, and protected, and ... protective. Like, "Don't you dare hurt my Mom, or I'll have to punch you in the esophagus." I know very well she can handle herself. I just feel like the wing man now. And the wing man who is ready to come out swinging should anyone mess with my compadre. She is a good, good woman.

And I was feeling my own mother heart pound in my chest tonight. It is so strong... so powerful. Wouldn't you say? Truly, in this way, I can feel a tiny inkling of how motherhood is godlike. Feeling an actual tug at my heart, like physical string that binds these incredible children to my soul. I am so proud to be a Mom. And so hopeful I can build on this legacy of faith. Tonight was so tender hearing my little boy talk about his precious Granny-friend. Their relationship was so very tender, and I am astounded at the tiny details he remembers. It makes me so happy. It assures me that he will remember her, that he will remember the way she made him feel. When we got my Grandma's things going to my Mom into her house, Kaje walked in from the other room to my Mom and said "Now it's going to smell like Granny's house every time we come to Grandma's!" Later he asked me if I remembered how he and Granny used to sit in the rocking chair in the kitchen so Granny could watch his Grandma make dinner, but usually she would send his daddy out to get breakfast. Just things like that... memories and impressions. We talked about how much Granny still watches over him and loves him so much. He said he knows she does, but he wishes he could see her memories. Because she can see him, but he just can't see her memories.
I wish I could see them, too.


Tink said...

Ya know. I feel the very same way about the painting that hangs on my wall. It doesn't belong here. Sometimes I don't like it at all just because it makes me hurt inside. But then, I am so grateful for that token of rememberance.

Seeing Mom yesterday broke my heart too. She looked so tired and crushed. Almost like Grandma had died all over again. Made me sad. I pray that her heart will begin to heal now that things are beginning to resolve. Some day we will look back at this year and remember the nightmare, but maybe not feel it so much!

You're a good mom. I wish I could help my children remember, but I'm not sure how.

Thanks for your post. I needed it!

Anonymous said...

That picture/treasure will make you smile every day! I know that strange feeling of having it in my house and not in hers - but remember that is what she wanted for all her "treasures" - for her family to enjoy them. That is why she took such good care of her things. It is hard to really enjoy it now but later, much later maybe, we will all sit back and be so grateful to have her "treasures" with us everyday! I love you and I am so happy you have the roses hanging on your wall! Sniff them for me!
Your cuz,

Ducksoup said...

loved your post rieser. saturday my heart really hurt again knowing my grandma's home was being cleaned out. it just sorta opens the wound again. i can't even imagine what it was like actually being there watching it all unfold. when i talked to my mom on saturday she sounded exhausted. i am so glad you have a painting that meant so much to you on your wall. can you please post a picture so i can see exactly what you are talking about. i'm so glad kaje has wonderful memories of grandma. something that is truly amazing about grandma was the way she could make you feel. the way she made everyone feel. what a gift. and oh, i loved that smell too. if your mom's house smell's like granny's please let me know. i may need to make the trek on down :). love yah rie!

Tara said...

that is a beautiful painting. you have such wonderful memories with your granparents. thanks for sharing.