By Jim Koury, Editor/Publisher, Diversity Rules Magazine
© 2014 Diversity Rules Magazine. All Rights Reserved
On this Mother’s Day my thoughts are on mom and the maternal influences in our lives. I am compelled by the forces within to express what is in my heart about this truly amazing 84+ year old lady.
Not only is this a public pronouncement of my love and affection for her, but also a plea for others to not let Mother’s Day go by without a thought or call to your mom. If she is deceased, take a moment to reflect upon what she meant to you and how she impacted and shaped the person you are today. If she was not an affectionate mom or one who had an “evil” streak in her, try to focus on something, one little part of her, that induces a smile or fond recollection of her in your life.
From my earliest days as a young child my mom meant the world to me as she does to this very day. There was a bond between us that was much more pronounced in me than that with my siblings or at least that is my perception of how things were.
I grew up in an ethnic family; one which could be characterized as being rather cohesive and bonding. Family gatherings on both sides of the fence, maternal and paternal, were for the most part, ones which I always looked forward to. I enjoyed spending time with my cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents and experienced a sense of loss when they were over. My mom was an integral part of this family dynamic, as well as my maternal grandmother who lived with us.
The maternal influences of my mom and grandmother were ever present. As a child I was somewhat of a loner and was quite content with being by myself. I would fall back on the maternal influences in my life when I felt threatened or when later in life, my burgeoning sexuality and my growing awareness that I was gay would begin to play a much more pre-dominant role in my development.
I would content myself with long conversations with my grandmother. Despite her broken English interspersed in with her Italian, we understood each other and we kept each other company in our individual solitude. As was the case with my mom, my grandmother was my bedrock; the person I would go to and find comfort in when I felt misunderstood.
I feel compelled to relate a story about my grandmother which epitomizes the relationship we had with each other. I was preparing to go off on my 6th grade patrol trip. The night before I was to leave, gram said to me, “make sure you come say goodbye to me before you leave.” I promised her that I would. I awoke the next day with the intention of fulfilling that promise I made to her.
As my departure neared, I said I wanted to go say goodbye to grandma. My dad said to not do so because she was still sleeping. So I waited a bit and then said I had to go to the bathroom before I left and I snuck into her room. She was wide awake waiting for me and we said our goodbyes. This image is emblazoned in my mind. I can still see her wide eyes and smile and her saying “Jimmy!” as if it were just yesterday.
Some folks get all uptight about being called their “kid” name (e.g., Jimmy, Mikey, Davey, etc.). However, I have to say that seeing in my mind her saying “Jimmy” is probably one reason why I embrace the name when I hear someone say it. Hearing it simply reminds me of that morning in her bedroom and brings a smile to my face. It was not long after that trip that she had her fatal last stroke and fell into a physical state where she could not speak and ultimately slipped off into her waiting period before her departure from her pained and old body.
There would also be those impromptu gatherings when my aunts and uncles would come visit my grandmother. Rather than go outside and play or do whatever kids did, I chose to stay in the room and spend time with them, listening and observing. My connection to family was strong even as a child and remains so today. During these gatherings I would always be close to mom or gram.
Many Mother’s Days have passed since those days as a child.. My grandmother is no longer physically with me, but her presence, her aura, is with me every day. Luckily and I thank the universe each and every day, that my mom is still with us. No matter where I was living, there were very few Mother’s Days where I was not home spending time with the woman who has impacted me the most and will continue to do so long after she has physically departed. As long as mom is alive and breathing, I shall be with her on Mother’s Day.
As a child I also remember projecting forward our ages. She is 30 years older than I am. I would sit and figure out how old we would each be and when I got up to my current reality I would shudder and begin to think about the day when she would no longer be. I would schloff that off and say “that is a long way off. I am not going to worry about that.”
Alas that time has come; what I feared as a child and would always shove to the back of my head, has arrived. Time passes and then it sneaks up on us and we just sit and wonder where the time went. It is also at this point in time where we begin to grasp on to those memories of yore and the sense of security we felt. We long for just a little bit of those special memories to return; to once again experience if only for a brief moment.
Now I find myself at times, projecting forward to the day when my mom is no longer. It is a time we all must experience but I dread the arrival of that day. I sit and break down crying at the thought of holding her hand while she passes and saying “I love you” one last time. It will be one of the most, if not the most, devastating periods of my life; the loss of the person who has been my mentor, my friend, and the person I could say pretty much anything to.
I sit tearful as I write this, but I find solace in the knowledge that she, along with my dad, shall enter a realm that we do not understand in our physical state. They shall cross over and once again be reunited with family members long since gone and shall look upon us in their spiritual form; watching over us and guiding us in ways unseen and not understood in our current state.
Do not find yourself in a situation of regret after their death. Many children, for whatever reason, choose to hold grudges and blame their parents for their faults and shortcomings and do not stay in contact with them. They also choose to abdicate their duty to family and their obligation to watch over them in their older years. They fail to realize that they are not “owed” anything. It is us, their children, that owe THEM for taking care of us, nurturing us and making sure our basic needs were met. Do not allow yourselves to be in a “I shoulda, coulda, woulda” mode of thinking. Then it will be too late.
Last, I am eternally grateful for the spiritual awakening I have undergone and am still experiencing and those that I have come in contact with that have helped me awaken to the existence of “the other side” and not the man-made Christian version that was drilled into us as kids. It brings me comfort to know that while the people that have shaped my life the most will no longer be physically with me, their aura shall assuredly be with me forever, until the day I myself cross over.