The Beautiful Mother
My ex-husband’s mother had a poet’s will. She was a silken beauty, vulnerable, observant, wondering where I belonged. I told her the forced abortion is why I left my marriage. However, she never said a word to him, and he never said a word to her about it. But she and I corresponded from time to time.
“Be a flower among your flowers,” she wrote to me fifteen years later. I never heard from her again. She had died, unbeknownst to me. And I still wonder, “Do I have the strength to be a flower?” They are glorious in bloom, color-saturated while absorbing sunlight with a graceful air, impervious to tragedy. Can I do that?
No. I’m a 60-year-old woman who sleepwalks in white nightgowns.
There is very little counseling for post-abortion grief. But here is what she wrote to me after I told her.
I find this almost too difficult—writing you a letter in reply to yours. It pains me every time I think of you and my son, but I know I must remain outside of this, as nobody ever knows, nor should it be a concern of theirs, what goes on in a marriage. It has sometimes amazed me how any marriage lasts—including my own. It is beyond all doubt that marriage is not a perfect or even a natural state for anyone of us to find ourselves in, in a world of such impermanence. All things change, grow and die, and if there is more to it than that, the great philosophers cannot tell us because they do not know—anyway a guess is almost as good—so enjoy the day—days are where we live.
I hope you have found happier and more fulfilling ones. Freedom to do as you wish—that is one’s greatest longing I find. Also, it is important to shed that load of sorrow and regrets of what happened long ago. We are responsible for our own happiness and sense of well-being—it cannot belong in the past.
That I loved you is true. That I miss you—that cannot go away—you are more than a ship that passed in the night. You have a nice address. My daughter’s husband showed me on the map where you live. I like being alone myself—we have to be social beings, yes, but we were not all created to mix happily with the masses.
Love—as always . . .
I sign her letter, The Beautiful Mother.
Perhaps her voice from above can help some tearful soul below.