The mother I used to know is gone. We used to be close, my mother and me. I don’t know when exactly the wedge came between us and spilt us apart. Was it Cancer? Was it when I became a mother? Was it her hearing loss? Or was it my clawing lack of patience? You see the problem is that I mumble and her hearing aids always seem to need batteries. Or was it just life?
Now a gulf stands between us. I on one end screaming over to her lost on the other side. Some days she hears me. The message sails across the wide expanse of space and time the stands between us. And we make contact. We connect. And I remember the days when she was vibrant and healthy. When she couldn’t wait to tell me about the new book she was reading or discuss her outrage about the current political climate. The days when I could call her up and pour out my heart, my inner most fears and receive words of comfort. Those words have sustained me through my darkest days.
Now when I call her, I feel as though I am screaming into the void. The words already lost before they even tumble out of my mouth. The words they float away once they hit the air drifting up, up, and away. And the gulf expands even farther between us. I can see her there. Deep down I know what she needs, but she doesn’t want it from me.
She pushes me away with her standard line, “I’m old not helpless.”
These days she doesn’t want my help. The more I try and help the farther she runs from me. I now feel like the parent of an errant chain smoking vodka drinking eighty-something year old teenager. I ask too many questions that she doesn’t want to answer. So now we each take refuge on our own little islands. She hides from me. Her island is filled with books, coffee , cigarettes , The Price Is Right in the morning, Jeopardy in the afternoon punctuated with small trips out into the world to forage food at the grocery store or to see her oncologist. And I hide from her. I’m far too busy on my little island with a business to run, stories to write, and a family that needs tending. I am so lost on my own island, most days I don’t know where I am or how I got there.
She has disconnected from me, from us, from her granddaughter, and from life. Even when she’s here, she’s not here. When she comes for a visit she’d rather sit at the computer and play games than talk. I see her slipping away and when I reach out and try to pull her closer I lose grasp of her hand and she falls even farther away from me.
I’m a grown woman. I have my own family. I’m the mother now. I shouldn’t need her, but I still do. I will always need her. I don’t know when that aching need for your mother dissipates or if it ever does. I want so badly to build a bridge between us, but I can’t. I don’t know how. She was a good mother to me, loving, supportive, and accepting. She’s allowed to retire. If she doesn’t have any more to give, I understand that. I do. That’s fair. She’s not obligated to still be my mother. I just wish she was still here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amelia Estelle Dellos is a writer.
She is a screenwriter, playwright, novelist, copywriter, and blogger. She is currently working on the second draft of her novel Delilah.
For updates follow her on https://twitter.com/DelilahDArc.