Sunday, March 12, 2017

Where have all our mothers gone?

I have Stacy on my mind. We met when our two different junior highs merged into our one high school. By the time we graduated and I got my driver’s license, my car knew how to drive to Stacy’s house. The summer after our freshman year in college, we were both back on Long Island. Stacy invited me to ride horses with her, but I went to the beach instead. She fell off a horse and broke her collarbone; I dislocated my shoulder body-surfing. Neither of us could work, so we had another summer together.

Stacy became a New York executive; I moved to Alaska. We’d get together when I visited my mother or for high school reunions, and she and her husband came out to kayak in Prince William Sound. When I began my month in Manhattan last year, Stacy was with me when I first entered my rented apartment. She gave it the stamp of approval; now I could relax in the Big City.

Stacy once wrote me one of the most precious notes I’ve ever received. It was after a visit:
“…whenever we get together … it is as though we’ve seen each other everyday for the last 30 years! Yes, our bathing suits are bigger and the subjects of conversation have changed…, but we always go right to the heart of the matter with the knowledge that thoughts shared are always safe, feelings are treated with care, and we still laugh like a couple of teenagers! So beyond the trees that have grown, the neighborhoods that have changed and all the things we have each experienced over the last three decades, there is this indestructible, invisible bond, like a tap root that stretches for miles and miles through time and space….”
I was traveling to visit Stacy in Maryland – where she’s retired with horses – when I had to turn back to see my mother before she died.

Why is Stacy on my mind? Because last week, her mother died.

I can see Mrs. Frank so clearly in my mind. The way she would throw back her head, squint her eyes, and say something about “you girls.” I can picture myself in their living room. I spent a lot of time at that house, with that mother.

About a year ago, when my mother’s memory was mostly gone, Stacy drove over to pick me up for a visit. I told my mother, described who Stacy was.

“I know who Stacy is!” she interjected. She raced out to the car and hugged Stacy hello with clear and unfogged memory. My mother knew Stacy.

I walked past the telephone yesterday, thinking I’d call my mother to let her know Mrs. Frank had died. Moments like that happen. Continue to happen.
We’re losing our mothers! And so we in our Third Thirds – we motherless children – turn to the ones who knew our mothers, too. That “indestructible, invisible bond” that Stacy wrote about – that “tap root” that connects us – it included our mothers.

Stacy must feel the same thing. Yesterday, I received another note from her, coaxing me to visit her place in Maryland. She wants “to sit and reminisce about our Moms together.”

So do I.


  1. This makes me cry....beautifully written and goes right to the heart of loss. Thank you once again to giving clear voice to feelings.


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