Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.

14 Apr

I remember the warm arm of a pale blue workshirt, likely my father’s. I leaned into her as the sun set, breezy but warm, June, or early July. We sat on our front steps, her and I.

Maybe I invent these memories. Maybe I cobble them together, rubbing the memories until I can make a crisp, something that makes sense, resembles what Mom’s do, and heats up until it’s real.

Perhaps we never sat together like that, ever, and I place my dreams in the wrong context all together.

But she would have. Even if I’m wrong and she was inside the house the entire time, sewing, she would have, some day.


I admire in my mother the courage to die.

Had my father told me that the doctors had to remind her, violently almost, that there was nothing they could do for her, that the only way for her to let go was to realize there was no point, before I had children, I wouldn’t have understood. 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have made sense.

Sure, in that conventional, loss is crap way it would have. But for it to take my breath away, for her sacrifice to truly be grasped, wrapped in cotton wool and put away for safe keeping, I needed to have children I wished to adore and protect and grow to women. Having those lives in my hands, having the wishes to see them grow and people women with lives, wives maybe, CEO’s, mothers, writers, I could plainly see what it took to answer that nameless doctor’s plea with a simple


Not long before my mother died, she had me wheel her to a room with cookies to have a talk. I don’t remember that talk, the words have since fallen from my ears and I hate myself daily for not paying more attention, for knowing more about the cookies on the silver plate on the oval, wooden table. The words I assume, were things I couldn’t bear to keep, couldn’t face at that age, that teetering leap of faith between childhood and growing up.

I can remember her face, and now believe it to have been after the doctors told her it was pointless, as the color was gone from her face, her eyes were tired, and while she was still my mother, she was beginning to become transparent, preparing her leave from us.

Soon after, she came home, and before that week was out, she died, seizing in from of me one cold April morning.

It’s been 20 years since that day, since I was a child, since I was allowed, or allowed myself to be young. 20 years since I felt her hand, warm, inside mine, looked inside her eyes, heard my name from her lips. Known I was loved and wanted in her arms.

But her love, her desire, her belief in me-all of it is emboldened by one doctor having to say “Dianne, let go. We can’t make it better.” By the knowledge that dammit, my mother was stronger than fucking cancer, even if only for a year, maybe two. That her will, and her love for me, my brother, was enough to beat it down and bear her up.

Maybe I can never love like that. Maybe it doesn’t make up for a life lived without her. But it’s a fragrant reminder of the sweetness and strength of our love for our children, and it’s her warm hand around my heart.


The magnificant Jen, over at Creative Wanderings, is having a fantabulous contest for Mother’s Day-all you need to do is write a post about the impact some fantastic Mom or other woman has made in your life. Go HERE for deets. The prize is some CW product, which is very much worth your time-natural and yummy smelling and long lasting and yeah…just go get some. 🙂

8 Responses to “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”

  1. elorajade April 15, 2009 at 7:05 am #

    Magnificent Jen…I shall be forever known as that.

  2. jen April 15, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    wow. this is amazing.

  3. Hannah April 15, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Oh, after everything that’s been happening this week with Bob, this is almost too much.

    How I wish he would show your mother’s courage. We just found out this morning that the doctors told him on Monday there may be nothing more they can do. But he insists on treating his sudden decline as nothing more than a temporary bump in the road, and trying to keep the smiles pasted on is just… I never want to go through this again.


    No matter what happens, I’ll be seeing you in June, right? Because I so need to have my girls around me right now.

  4. raino April 16, 2009 at 12:32 am #

    this is beautiful and sad too. it made me cry. my mom is gone too.

  5. Superla April 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm #


  6. Kelly April 16, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Came over from Bon’s place because I had to know who dared to hate Neil Young so intensely.

    I’ve been left gasping that there is this much talent tripping out on the page. You are a fine writer. Wow!

    I have not lost my mother, but could imagine the intensity of that pain after reading this.

    Having children has made me overly careful with my own life and actions. But, I now I can not protect myself from death and I am terrified that I will leave them someday with a wound.

  7. angharad April 18, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    my mum is dead, and i left her many years before to live with my dad. this is so moving; so tender.

  8. Cheeky Monkey April 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    I can’t imagine how hard it would be as a parent (fuck, as a human) to let go of a life that seems too briefly lived. My dad never did it, not consciously. Never made his peace, never said goodbye. That was not his way. I wish it had been, but know that I probably also lack the courage to choose differently.

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