This morning the temperatures are back to normal, the snow all but disappeared. This week my daughter’s partner’s mother died in Hungary. Marta was present through her last breath. Her mother was young and the death hard. There were two other deaths this week. I attended one funeral. All mothers. The other women lived into their nineties. Still there were left motherless children. And into last evening my friend and I talked about our grown children and how we must focus on our own lives. The sun was setting on Onancock Creek. The air cooled. I turned on the lamp in my small office. What is it now that we must do for ourselves? Where and how do our lives intersect theirs? My children are older and established in their own rights. Hers are beginning. She travels to Vietnam at the end of the month on an aids mission to women’s prisons. I travel to spend time with children and grandchildren who live on the other coast. We have been friends for near forty years. I knew her before she married and before she had children. She knew me as a young mother. We know what we have lived through: childbirth, deaths, marriages, remarriages. We are motherless. When alive, our mothers were critical. We, in turn are critical of ourselves. I know her beauty. She knows my heart’s desire. We stand up for each other. She is a shaman, a dreamweaver. She is steadfast, dependable. I can count on her. She mothers me. I mother her.
I wonder if Marta will allow mothering? What will she need when she returns? Don’t we all need mothering in the way that we are known, seen, valued, loved? Motherless or not.