This much I know about love: scattering my Mother’s remains in the lonely Pacific at dawn, I knelt, felt the sand on the rocks by the shore grind into my knees, bent over close enough to let the water splash my face, and gently shook the bag to release her to the sea, tiny bits of bone, still solid, dropping and fine particles of ash sticking to my hands until I rinsed them, rubbing the last traces of her into the ocean.
My mother was disabled by polio at a young age not long after giving birth to my older brother. The story goes that she heard him calling when he was a small boy and could not get up. She fought as hard as she could, but her legs wouldn’t work.
Her body failed her, and she never forgave it. At base, there was always a part of her that refused to accept herself, forgive herself for her own limitations, forgive us for not being able to save her. We could never seem to make things right. She drove people away and then mourned their absence. This made for a hard love. [Read more…]