Memories of Mom

I can’t remember my mom ever sleeping. My entire life living with her she would go to bed after I did and when I woke up she would be at the kitchen table drinking coffee-already showered, hair already dried. I do remember her owning robes and slippers so I don’t know where that falls into the picture except to say that my mom was modest. I never saw her naked, never saw her in her underpants and only remember seeing her in a swimsuit when I was in my early 20’s. We took a water aerobics class together and when she came out from the dressing room in her modest 1 piece suit I was in awe of her. "Oh my God Mom! Look at you! You are so beautiful, look at that figure"! She laughed at my reaction and told me I had the same body --but it wasn’t true.

My Mom had a class and grace I have never seen in another person, ever. I’ve seen actresses try to convey it on screen and they can’t even pretend that as well as my mom lived it. She could accept a compliment or give one in the most genuine way. Years ago I wanted to have this quality that she had but I’ve quit trying.

My Mom’s coffee cups had little feet on them, and delicate handles and rims that tipped slightly out at the top and the material was so thin you could sometimes see through it. She drank from the pot of weak coffee that she would brew in the morning all day long,

My Mom had amazing table manners and even tough she grew up very poor and underprivileged in Detroit, you would have guessed she dined with the Queen every night.

My Mom never complained or gossiped and kept all of her emotions and feelings inside. If I so much as stub a toe, I need to tell every person I meet every detail about it. My Mom was terminally ill with cancer, dealing with a mentally ill son and a fiscally irresponsible ex husband and had a pot-head daughter who occasionally modeled nude for art classes. All anyone knew about My Mom's world unraveling at the end of her life was that her office door was closed more often.

My Mom was an amazing woman; our relationship was often much less than amazing. We mainly didn’t get along, but luckily for me, the last few years of her life she and I made peace. When I think about where she came from- an absent racist, alcoholic father, a meek subservient mother living in poverty- I see that my Mom gave me so much more than she ever had. She gave me so much more than you could ever expect a person of that background would be capable of giving.

My mom rarely spoke of her past and the small amount of information I have I've collected from my grandparents and photos and the very rare fleeting references my mom would make. She never spoke about her heritage much but when she was older and preparing to die she started to mention our Chippewa Indian heritage and tried to help my Grandpa preserve his small percentage of reservation land.

My mom took me to Minnesota to see where I came from and meet other relatives of mine that share the same Chippewa bloodline. But some memory of that place hurt her. Some relative in that group had hurt her and the entire trip went bad in such a way I had never seen. Even then, in her anger/hatred/bitterness she was in such control that I never dare ask for specifics.

When she died and I saw her body she looked like an old wise Indian woman. I had to identify her body and it was difficult because it was as if I was seeing her for the first time. She was just a small, delicate woman, not the giant I knew. Having to identify her body helped me come to terms with the idea that she was only human, when so many of us viewed her as something much greater than that.

Happy Mother’s day Mom. I miss you each and every day.


Anonymous said...

LP was my Mom away from home for many years. She was by far one of the strongest women and best role models I've have had the pleasure of knowing. I only wish now I would have paid more attention to the things she tried to teach me. But, who knew the end would be so near.
I remember the morning Karen called me with the news that her Mother had passed away and that "message to all" letter. I skated as hard as I could to KPs thinking the whole way there that this can't be true. there has to be a mistake. Sadly enough there was no mistake. I remember going to the LA County Morgue with KP and I saw the craziest thing there A GIFT SHOP. Yes, a gift shop selling souvenirs, shirts, hats, coffee mugs you name and you could buy it, still to this day I wonder who would by that kind of memorabilia. It is one of those things that are etched in your mind forever. You never forget the morgue once you've been.
LP gave me a job working in her office and she did her best to teach me office skills so I wouldn't have to work in bars for the rest of my life. Funny how things turn out. Although I think she would be proud of the person I turned out to be. I learned a lot from her during that time and am thankful, for those lessons still play a part in my life today.
I knew a tough no nonsense side of her (which was most of the time) and on occasion got to see the fun loving side of her as well.
I remember the time she took KP, myself and Michael (KPs brother) to Disneyland on Christian Night (a group that Michael belonged to). Michael and his shaved tattooed head, KP and I wearing ripped up hole-y jeans with loud striped tights underneath and Linda dressed in nice jeans and a blouse. I'm sure we were and embarrassment to her but she never showed it, just let us be who were where. That was a fun night and the only time I've been to Disneyland when there weren't any lines.
One weekend she took KP and I to San Diego. We stayed it a swanky place on the ocean and took the train to Mexico. I still have the photo of KP and I on that burro wearing those silly sombreros. Yet again who knew the end would be so near.
I loved her like she was family, in a way she was family to me. Always a good friend, trusted advisor, consultant and Mom away from home. I miss her and think of her often. She was another life, a special person that was taken from this world too soon. Although her light still shines.
We still love and miss you.

Miss K.P.-Ness said...

Allison, I still have the post-it-note of rules my Mom gave us for our trip to Mexico. WE had to spend all the money she gave us to spen and promise not to get her kicked out of anywhere. Remember she neede to part ways with us at some point and we weren't shure why- ends up my Mom was getting many of her cancer meds in Mexico- she didn't have medical insurance for herself.So many things I know now that she is gone that I wished I'd known then.