To live with this particular motherlessness is to grieve the loss of the living. Still here but also not at all. And not for the dignified and inevitable reasons we call “natural causes” (or even unnatural but unintentional ones). For I did not lose my mother to death; I lost her to life. The life of being my whole, authentic self, open and free. This she could not abide and absconded her role as mother with a haste that makes me wonder if she had been waiting all along for an opportunity to turn her back on me. Because she’d rather have her dream than her daughter–we are not the same thing. To stay and love me would be to grow. And for some, that is a tall–or at least untimely–order.
It is not enough to be lovely if I am queer.
It is not enough to be smart if I am queer.
It is not enough to be kind, compassionate, gifted, discerning, humorous, gentle, creative…if I am queer.
Because I can do the one thing she can’t: love a woman just as she is. So we live with each other’s ghosts. And dashed hopes. Mother’s Day is hard not because my mother is gone but because she fled and every day chooses absence and rejection over love instead.
How shall I celebrate?