A Mother’s Love
Wentworth Falls, NSW
From the air England looked like a checker board with her neat squares of green and yellow fields glowing in the morning sun.
Alex hadn’t been home for eight years, she had almost forgotten how beautiful the land was. This was a bitter sweet trip, she longed to see her family again, and to see if they had changed in her absence. She wondered what she would say to them after all this time, did she still fit in?
She had planned this trip for a while but meanwhile her sister rang her with the grim news that their mother had terminal cancer and wasn’t expected to live much more than a few months.
Alex remembered when at the age of ten the news of her mother having cancer emerged for the first time, she was so afraid that her mother would die then, but she recovered after radium treatment which was awful and the treatment was inserted internally to kill the disease in her womb. The same womb that had housed six babies. Two of which did not survive. Alex was the last born and had reaped the benefits of being the youngest.
How could she show her mother how much she loved her without revealing the deep agony she felt inside which threatened to surface at the slightest invitation.
Although Alex was happy living abroad she carried the life blood of Britain in her veins, the earth was in her bones. She carried the love of two homes inside and felt a deep connection to both but England’s ancient heritage and traditions upheld with such pomp and ceremony as only the Brits could do.
On arrival as the official stamped her passport she was welcomed home, she felt embraced by the warmth and the national pride of being acknowledged as one of their own.
On seeing her mother she was struck by sadness at seeing this proud woman succumbing to the disease that stalked her for the second time. She wondered why people had to suffer such pain and agony and loss of dignity that terminal disease can bring.
She felt gratitude that she had the opportunity to spend several weeks with her and her family, so important to be part of a family at times like these. As silly as it seemed she considered how little she knew of her mother’s life, she had always been mum to her but she was a woman who must have had dreams and desires.
There would have been passion and laughter surely though life with her father would have been difficult and heart wrenching as he physically abused her after he had been drinking. She stayed for over twenty years like many women who are abused do. She had nowhere to go and there wasn’t the help then like now. No wonder her body had given itself over to disease.
Alex felt shallow and selfish knowing that she had been the needy one before, never really giving much thought to her mother’s needs. As her mind drifted back to the day she left England to start her new life could see her mother’s face so valiantly trying not to crumble into a flood of tears, it was the worst time leaving her whole family behind, even though she felt it was the right thing to do.
There hadn’t been a day previously that she hadn’t seen at least one member of her family, that is how it was where she came from, so to leave all of them behind was in a way too incomprehensible to take in so like Scarlett O Hara she decided to deal with it another day.
Pity she hadn’t dealt with that grief for grief accumulates and now it was overflowing and almost uncontainable.
She was able to tell her mother how much she loved her but the day she was to leave, the last goodbye was too much to bear and Alex slipped quietly out of the house without seeing her. This was something she regretted but the dread of looking into those big blue eyes and saying those unutterable words was inconceivable. Her throat was constricted to the point of not being able to breathe; it felt as if her heart was literally breaking.
She feared going into that room because she thought she would die a thousand deaths. This was the woman who had loved her even when she was being unlovable, this was the woman who cared for her, nurtured her, comforted her in sickness and when her life was dissolving with the latest catastrophe. She could not say goodbye!
Several weeks after arriving back to her current home Alex got the call from her sister to say her mother had died. Alex sobbed all the tears that had been waiting to be expressed. The guilt and pain palpable she berated herself for being so weak.
After a few months Alex’s mother came to her in a dream. She looked so beautiful, free of disease and radiant. There were no recriminations, no harsh words, only love. Her mother, laying beside her put her arm around her and comforted her just as she always had, so nurturing, so warm and all seemed well again and Alex knew that nothing compares to a mothers love.
Bio: Connie says that sometimes mothers aren’t appreciated until we don’t have them anymore.