“It Always Hurt Me To See My Mother Cry”
It always hurt me to see my mother cry.
I remember in early childhood, there being instances.
Like that time when I was in the third grade,
and she was lunch mother at school.
Somehow the hospital was able to notify her that my grandmother had died after a prolonged struggle with breast cancer.
She must have been brought to the office on the second floor to receive the news.
I remember her coming down the maroon staircase,
floating on grief, red and runny from the emotions.
My stomach sank.
I remember in later childhood, there being instances.
Like that time in the seventh grade, when we moved from my second floor childhood apartment.
My parents were packing like gangbusters, and my father was in the basement.
My mother leaned over the back stairs and shouted down into the abyss to get my father’s attention.
Forgetting her surroundings, she sprang back up, but not without smashing her skull on the decorative wooden stairwell stalactite.
I heard the bang from three rooms and a long hallway away.
It least is seemed a long hallway away, to an adolescent boy.
Cringing in the darkness, aware of the flash of pain she suffered and the anxiety surrounding the impending move, amidst a sea of trailing sobs.
I remember as a young college-aged adult, there being instances.
Like that time as a freshman in college, when my grandfather died.
Watching her at the funeral, linked arm and arm with her older brother,
as they walked behind a flag draped coffin, and the music medley of “Eagle’s Wings”, the “Marine Corp Hymn”, and “Danny Boy” played.
The tears rolled violently and syncopated sobs echoed up into the abandoned balcony, hanging in a hushed choir of hyperventilating breaths.
I remained stoic outwardly, but disarmed inwardly by her display.
It is odd for me now, so many years later, to reflect on the trail of tears that defined my mother’s pain, but also allowed for me to see a more human side of her personality.
There was certainly a cleansing quality to those instances all the way up and down my early life.
There were times when I wished that I could have spared her that pain.
But, having experienced what I’ve experienced in my life, I recognize the magnificent importance of sorrow, and its presence in our lives.
And, upon further reflection, I truly appreciate the balance and value it provides to our souls.