I rode away from my life as I knew it, just a few days before my 21st birthday in 1979, in a cab on my way to the airport. I was heading stateside from Germany. I waved at my beautiful mother, shed a tear because of the sadness in her eyes, and readied myself for a new life. I did not see my mom again until 1991 when she came with my brother to visit me for a week. Sadly, I have not seen my mother since then. It’s been 21 years. I can honestly say that if I saw my mother walking down the street it is unlikely I would recognize her. This is not due to a falling out, it’s just that circumstances have been less than helpful in providing a reconnection with my mother.
When I was no more that a state away from her, when I was living in Camden, I didn’t have the financial resources to see her. There has never really been enough of a cash flow to get there and stay there for a time to visit with her. At one point I was in NYC for a writer’s gathering and the host offered to drive me to Connecticut to spend the evening with my mother. I called mom all day to make arrangements, left her a message to let her known my intentions, and she didn’t respond until the next day. She told me she had doctors appointments and couldn’t make time. I was devastated. Beneath that lay a vein of anger. I didn’t understand.
Several years later, I told my mother I was coming to visit and she finally fessed up. She told me she didn’t want me to come because there was rampant racism in the assisted living facility she lived in. She told me that her neighbor who has a daughter married to a black man came to visit and after they left, someone spray painted “Nigger Lover” on her door. My mother was afraid to have me come visit. Unfortunately she is too old and not in the best of health to come and visit me. The submerged anger grew but shifted away from my mother and toward a part of society that was keeping me from her. It is highly unlikely I will ever see my mother again. I came to terms with that many years ago, but for some reason on this Mother’s Day (a capitalist creation I don’t generally want to acknowledge) I feel a sense of sadness. I wish I knew what she looked like now. I would love to wrap my arms around her just one more time, smell her mommy smell, and tell her that I love her face to face.
That is all.