An excerpt from my novel, “Mother’s Of Invention”
She was born in a two room shack in the middle of the Sonora desert. The daughter of a dirt farmer, she grew up money poor, but family rich. The youngest in a family of eight, she dreamed of the bigger and better things her older siblings seemed willing to leave unimagined. The character-building found through struggle was not in line with her plans and the sooner she could break free, marrying the first man who showed more than a passing interest if she had to, the better off she’d be. For the whole first half of her life wished to find some time to be alone, away from her smothering family.
I would imagine that she’d take it all back if she had known what being alone was really all about. Dying is bad enough. Dying alone is infinitely worse.
After I received the phonecall, I sat, numb, in the kitchen. I wondered what it was that she was thinking in those last few moments. Was she engulfed by the notion that time has run out to right her wrongs? Did she feel remorse for the path she’d taken through life? If there was a god in heaven, she found her answers staring back from the abyss of eternity.
There was never a question about whether or not I would attend the funeral. I owed her less than nothing, but it was not out of indifference to her existence and her demise that kept me far away on that day. It wasn’t even that I could not go and pretend I knew, or cared for her, in a way that only sons can know, and care for their mothers.
I’ve spent a lifetime surrounded by people who feel that forgiveness frees the spirt. I disagree. It’s the weight of anger that keeps us grounded. Of course, anger wasn’t the reason either.
A few months ago my downstairs neighbor passed away. I lived above him for 12 years, but knew little about him. I didn’t go to his funeral either. Compared to my neighbor, I knew even less about my mother. Who she was or even what she was were questions that were not readily answered. Everyone who knew her before I did was dead and buried. Except my father and when it came to my mother, his perception couldn’t be trusted.
I believe that my father knew less about my mother than even I did. He still loved her, though. For what it was worth, he never loved another woman in quite the same way. Mostly because my mother knew how to ruin men in such a way as to render them completely useless to any woman who had to follow in her wake.