Passport to Poconos – Loving Mom Across Miles

I tell my mother in our weekly phone call, “I love you mother, with all my heart. You are constantly in my thoughts. I hear your laughter. I wear your perfume and the smell reminds me of you.” “Really?” she asks. Her thrill and laughter is contagious. I have reached her soul and we have finally connected. Since I moved to the States, I am continually worried about her: an aging widow with a progressive fragile mind.

I am grateful that my brother is devoted to her.  He is her constant caregiver. When I visit, I feel like a stranger intruding. When I first moved away, she was more lucid, opinionated and demanding.  She filled me with guilt for being so far away in her old age. She had always been there for us.

She was our shelter, giving us unconditional love and each day, after school, taking us for a ‘merienda’, an afternoon snack. We drank hot chocolate with whipped cream  (called Suizo in Spain) and ate croissants. These are some of the memories I cherish.

I never understood why she didn’t pursue her artistic talents or why she hid her true age. Being older than my father filled her with guilt. I found out about that by accident when I was ten years old. We were on a vacation. I was looking at her passport and found her age. I was convinced there was a mistake. But it wasn’t. Later in her life she admitted always felt ‘less’ for marrying a man six years her junior. It was then when I felt a I had missed a big part of who she really was.

She met my father in Germany where they were both learning the language. They married in Turkey, where her family was temporarily living, and settled in his home country, Spain. She never adjusted to life in Spain and never learned the language properly. She remained an outcast, attached to her old language and customs. After my father died it became more isolating. But she was a brave woman who wanted to marry for love and become a mother. She succeeded in both. My parents were always for each other, during the ups and downs of life.

I don’t try to puzzle anymore about all the questions that will remain unanswered about my mother. Though she hears me in our weekly conversations, she no longer can comprehend my questions or give me answers. I’m grateful to still have her although sometimes I wonder if she knows who I am.  When I show her my love and kindness on the phone, she’s happy and giggly. Happy Mother’s Day, mother, thank you for giving me the gift of life and shaping who I am. I´ll love you forever.


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