Saturday, 9 March 2013

POST SCRIPTS TO MY MOTHER

P.S.

My mother never hugged me much
or not at all

I cannot ever remember
being enveloped in my mother's ample bosom
and held there for a while

Among my carefully kept memories of her
is not one solitary recall of a time
I felt the soft folds
of her flesh against mine
as I huddled in her lap

My mother wasn't one of those 'lovey dovey' mommies
that gave out hugs willy nilly
We learnt to look for love from her
in other things

Like how she would smile indulgently
or laugh uproariously
when something one of
of us said or did
amused her

or how she would always manage
to give us dinner
to ease the hunger pangs in our bellies
Although she never earned a wage
in the 60 years she lived

My mother was a woman of God
and prayed often
especially at nights
So we learnt to look for love
in her nightly supplications to God
on our behalf

And the many letters she wrote
by the light of the kerosene lamp
and the letters that would arrive in response
through the post office
with money in them
For sending us to school
For buying groceries
For doctor bills
For medicine

and when she would tiptoe like a hanging shadow
among us to make sure
that those of us that slept bad
weren't squeezing the living daylights out of each other
And that who ever had a tendency to wet the bed
was shaken awake and made to urinate
at intervals
We felt her love
And were grateful
when we all woke up dry in the morning

and if it was a Sunday,
to the rich aroma
of her creamy chocolate tea
made from cocoa pods she had picked herself
from the cocoa walk below our house
beside the tumbled down building
that was the old Sunday School
and cut and put out to dry in the hot sun
on half sheets of zinc for days
then roasted in the dutch pot
over a fire with acrid smoke that brought tears
to her eyes when she bent over it
to make sure the beans
weren't being burnt too much
and then pounded in the mortar
she kept in the corner of the kitchen
which doubled as a seat turned upside down
When it wasn't being mercilessly pounded
by her arthritic hands

My mother never hugged me
But I felt her love
in how
as she walked with me
to the bus stop
and on the long ride
to Montego Bay
to hand me over to the old couple
that I lived with in Goodwill for several years
she explained why she had to do it

So that I could have a chance to learn
As she didn't have the money
to send me to school
And how I was very bright
and would amount to something one day

All my life
I have felt the need to prove her right
In the lonely months and years that followed
I read every book in sight
And grew attached to words

I filled my days, nights
and the yawning emptyness
within my heart
for my mother
my brothers
sister
cousins and friends
with words and books
and thought of faraway places
including Belfont
the place I still called home
even though I only returned some holidays
for short visits

Her letters that came often
through the post office
consoled me
made me know that I was loved
and remembered
and missed

My mother never hugged us
Never hugged me
much
But I felt her love
Every night during mango season
When I would come home from work
To find a pot of freshly washed and very ripe mangoes
Under the cupboard in the kitchen
instead of my plate of dinner
because she knew I loved mangoes more than food

My mother never hugged me much

But every day
when I am not too busy
with making sure that I 'amount to something'
I wish she were STILL here
so I could love her back in the
ways that she loved me THEN

And NOW
Every night
I walk through my daughter's room
and make sure she is still in bed and breathing
and kiss her cheek
and when she is awake,
I hug her
until she is sick of it

Maybe
the hugs
I am giving her so freely NOW
are the hugs I
I wish I had received
from my mother
THEN.

2 comments:

  1. Ms.Andrea I just found your blog and I love it!! Great writing and enjoyable read with my own memories attached!! Keep it up...:-)

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    1. Hello Rockaway Girl. Thanks so much for your kind comment. There are times when I myself rediscover my own blog (this one) and I read what I wrote in the third person and I am amazed at my talent and my ability to express myself with words.

      Much appreciated. Much love.

      A

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