Mother

Attempting to put into words, the thoughts of a mother, and failing miserably.

I love you are not words mere enough for a glimpse of what we perceive to be the greatest wisdom of all. Over time and years of what we refer to as living have taught me more things about the inner self than I ever could have wished to be victim to. And Elliot was just part of my teachings, a fragment of life shattered by the loss of an ivory innocence, folded with all graceful curves of a budding rose, floating downstream on a river of blood that flowed from my body like so many crystalline tears. Until the river was swept into the ocean of all women who cry and bleed and live without ever knowing why or how, or for what the pain of their existence is all for.

Watching myself grow rounder, fuller…feeling the life within me that brought with it fear and hope and complete uncertainty. Knowing as I know my own name that nothing could ever change what was happening to me…not knowing if I really wanted it to change at all. People watching me, people whispering…their eyes burning like demon fire. God how I wish they could walk for one day knowing what I know, feeling what I feel, feeling that life within me as it lives and moves and grows. I stare back to unsettle them, unblinking, unforgiving. They look away but the whispering continues. I have no one to whisper to. I have lost again and look away with eyes full of remorse and hurt and that glint of fear. Fear of the pain? No…more accurately described as fear of failure. What kind of mother will I be? Hands explore a surface so hard and round and promising, feeling that pulse of life within, wishing I could look like this forever and have someone to whisper to. And then the pain came, and I wonder why I was not in fear of it. Pain like a river, a waterfall, an earthquake…pain like a volcanic eruption that makes me scream and scream and scream. So much pain to deliver a life so small.

Giving birth was perhaps the most painful and colorful moment of my life, the ripping of a soul that I’m not even sure exists. It tore from me like the wing of bird, disabling my flight through the azure dawn of existence. I felt that when I was crying my tears were made of glass because they hurt as they came out razor edges carving bloody scars down my cheeks dropping like bullets onto my heaving chest, dividing lines around my heart, stilling my flowing stream of consciousness into a stagnant pool of sharp edged and bitter regret. My whole being became pain. I was a soul writhing in a sea of boiling agony and I screamed like a wolf that howls in mourning. I screamed like a bird that soars across the horizon. And all eyes were on me and I was dying in the pain that engulfed me and swallowed me whole. If only I could die I would be happy.

Laying eyes on my son erased the pain and closed the wounds on my face and body, it breathed new life into me and assured me that our souls are real, and that our pain however intolerable is fleeting and not in vain. I was afraid to touch him as if he were made out of cotton candy and my fingers could reshape him and turn him into nothing but so much sugar from which he was made. My blood marked his body, proving that he was mine. My flesh, my blood, a new life born of my womb. A new soul to sprout wings and fly if only I could teach him. Suddenly all my fears and inadequacies as a mother seemed very real. God trusts us with this great task and I felt so much less than worthy. God my son…my son…

Years later I could not begin to recall the fervor with which those brief shards of time were lived and wept and dissolved into a dream filled with nothing more than ashes of my memories. I held him in my arms feeling his flesh like crushed velvet, damp with the sweat of his body, his hair resting like strands of a spider’s web against my scarred chest and divided heart, listening to the murmur of his life’s breath through parted lips the color of a peach when it’s cut in the light of the sun. And in those moments of holding this creature against me I felt like a hollow shell compared to the brilliance of his life. My son, who stole my life in order to live, and weak and dying though I am, I will forever see his brilliance shining through fragments of time, glowing and growing, for as long as time exists.

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