Saturday, August 09, 2008

Different Seasons

A lot of people came to my mom's wake, people I had not seen in some time. Among the guests were students she taught long ago. They told me stories of her teaching days.

"Was she strict?" I asked.

"No, she was easy going," I heard.

That was a little surprising, but then, with consideration, not so surprising that she would have a gentle touch. She used to fix me breakfast after I was out late, heated dinner when I first worked nights, wiped my brow when I was sick.

I heard stories from my cousins too, one my mom taught to sew with detail. Another, who is a photographer, recalled how beautiful he thought she was when he was little and how photogenic. His dad was a photographer too, trained by a Dutch master photographer in post war days, and thus there are happily tons of portraits and family photos from those years.

It was good to hear the stories and to be reminded of who she was before disease submerged her thoughts and personality into a nebulous skein. It reminded me of the her I knew before nursing homes, medications and tests to see if she was engaged in life.

Jumping back, before the difficult times was important because it is important to get back to the memories that matter and are to be carried as I wend onward.

9 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

She looks & sounds like a wonderful woman. Hold those good memories close. *hug*

Capcom said...

Aw, bless her heart. She's so pretty too.

What you said reminds me of the recent movie, "When Did You Last See Your Father." At the end, the son explains to himself that what that question means is, when did you last see him as his *real* self, before sickness diminished him and took his real self away. Good movie.

Charles Gramlich said...

That's a great picture of her. A lovely woman. It's nice to hear about the depth in our parents. Sometimes we think of them only as our parents, without lives of their own. It's good to hear how others saw them.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, Sid. Surprisingly this just showed up in my in-box (2 AM Sunday). I've said more than my share in the emails, but this is the first I've seen of your mother. That's the thing about us writers, you'll be putting a variation of your mother in a future story or novel. There aren't many photos of ours going back to the 50s, but evidently quite a few people thought my mom looked like Lee Remick in ANATOMY OF A MURDER. In the end, all we can do is keep going, amigo.

Miladysa said...

A lovely post and photograph Sidney.

My father was such an autocratic figure when I was a teenager, I was sure he must have come from another planet. One day in my twenties I had the pleasure of reading his autobiography and discover the child he had been and the man he was.

Life is such a learning experience isn't it?

Steve Malley said...

Very eloquent. Thank you.

Erik Donald France said...

That's a stunning picture and another thoughtful post.

Good to know those stories, certainly.

benjibopper said...

a friend of mine had a similar experience at her mom's memorial. her mother was a professor and many old students came out and heaped praises. sad in a way to learn their perspective when it's all over - but so helpful in moving forward, remembering good things.

Tom Evans said...

That's a truly magnificent picture!

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