Sunday, August 5, 2012

This Time


I took these photographs of my mother, age 90, days before she left St. Lucia, where for the past two and half decades she had made her home. She left before dawn on Saturday morning, all of us arrayed around the car as she climbed so delicately into it, the night breeze briskly stirring the air, reminding us there was a tropical storm afoot, making the prospect of early morning airplane takeoffs an anxiety-ridden proposition. Our own flight back to New York was in a matter of hours, and the neighbor and friend who transported my mom and my niece and her mom to the airport would be back to get us later that morning. In the end, I was glad Mom left the house before we did, even though at the start of the week I could not imagine being in the house without her, even for a few hours. But it was better this way, to see her off, to have her leave the house, not empty, but still full of those she loves. There she was, the car's inside light shining down on her, making her small stooped frame a beacon in the pre-dawn darkness, as one by one we leaned in and hugged her tight, her body so tiny and thin against ours as we each whispered Safe travels, mom, grandma, beloved friend, we'll see you sooner than soon. Those of us who cried hid our tears, we stood on her blind side so she wouldn't see us and get triggered herself. We all knew that if she cried we would all be undone, we couldn't bear it, and she seemed to know it too, because she didn't cry, just gazed at each one of us in turn and smiled that deep soulful smile she has as if she was silently blessing us. When my son hugged her, she asked him to come with her to the airport, even though the car was already full. He ran back into the house to get quickly dressed, and my heart swelled because I knew if he was with her she would feel rooted, secure, she would trust him to hold her steady, to get her from car to wheelchair to check in counter to departure lounge. And I knew that my niece and my heart sister would also take care of her on the long flight back to Jamaica, including the six hour layover in Barbados, but still my breath felt caught until my niece texted me at just past 11 p.m. last night, Grandma is home. She is back at my brother's house, now her primary home, too.




16 comments:

  1. I can't help but cry at this post. I know how you feel. I know how your children feel. This is bittersweet. So happy you got to have family time, mom time. No matter what, you'll always have this. Always. This is what has kept me going the past few years. The love of my grandmother, her faith in me. Your mother reminds me of her. I understand. Hugs. Many hugs.

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  2. With an enormous lump in my throat, I am sending you hugs and so much love. These photos are so raw and beautiful. I wish I could sit and hold your hand while you tell me more stories about your mother:) And your boy...What can I say other than I pray that my daughters will someday find good ones like him. He is surely a treasure.

    Love you, sweet friend.

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  3. Oh, Angella. You've told us here, so much. You've showed us so much -- all that is good and sad and terrible and filled with joy. That photo of your son and your mother made me cry.

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  4. Oh dear god, you've made me cry, tears rolling down my cheeks and I'm not just saying that. It's true.
    Oh, Angella- she is so beautiful. She is all bone and light and sinew. And love. She is pure. And to ask your son to go with her to the airport!
    You come from such good people. You ARE such good people. You have raised such good people.
    Thank-you. I am so glad I know you. And your mother. She is still here, she is still bright with that light.

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  5. Wow, Ms Moon really hit it on the head with her comments. Your mother is absolutely beautiful. I so wish people would look at older people and See Them! She is absolutely gorgeous. I life well lived is worn on every ounce of her being. What a blessing that your son was able to be there to support her. Beautiful family, beautiful photos, beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing it all with us.

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  6. You are amazing and I too was moved to tears by these photos and your description of your mother's leave-taking. She is a bird flying with bird wings. I love you.

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  7. what everyone said.


    your son. i'm so moved i don't even have words.

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  8. Such love covering the generations. I wonder if she still worries about leaving you and that you are all well. Do mothers ever stop their worrying and loving?

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  9. Others have said it, but I'll say it again -- beautiful photos of a beautiful woman, carrying all her remarkable life experiences away to her new home. Very moving. It's sad that your mother has to leave St. Lucia, but what a relief to know she'll be able to stay with your brother.

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  10. This post was so beautiful Angela. Your mother is beautiful. I see your mother in your daughter's face too. I love that you wrote this and captured such loving emotions with words and pictures. Thank you for sharing this. Sweet Jo

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  11. I'm not gonna cry. I won't do it!
    But you're are making it so tough.
    m.

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  12. I'm sort of teary too. Remembering the last time I said good-bye to my mother. You all are blessed in so many ways and that she is old and frail true but still well and in her own mind...

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  13. Angella, you've brought tears to all our eyes!

    Love,
    yo
    ps great shots here and the post above.

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  14. So beautiful and heartbreaking. Your pictures say so much. Your family is so filled with love. I'm so far behind on your posts. I got heartbroken at the dividing of the linens. My heart aches and swells for you, and I'm so glad you're sharing all this love and heartache with us. It's an honor. xo

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