Day 2. Dear mamá…#SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

Dear mamá,

mother&IToday I received a book I requested from the public library that reminded me of you. It’s called What my mother and I don’t talk about: Fifteen writers break the silence . Because you died before I realized the things we never talked. The things I know now did hurt you but then I didn’t realize why.

I remember your obsession that I needed to do some sort of catharsis and reconcile myself with you. I didn’t quite understand why I had to restored our broken relationship since ours was not broken. I always found you a very good mom with a balance to give me freedom without leaving me unprotected. Why did I  have to make peace with you if we haven’t fought? You always feared you would die and I would not have have the chance to reconcile our differences or maybe forgive your mistakes.

When I had children and went to live overseas, I acquire a distance that allowed me to see you with a different lens. I began to see some of the mistakes that children see in their parents. Those flaws that started to exasperate me. When you visited us you always wanted to help me and I always said no. Even one time you recriminated me and asked Why do you never accept my help, why? I don’t remember what my answer was. In the end when you stayed at our house, you managed to find a way to help me by cleaning our closets, and putting away the children’s toys, but above all by playing endlessly with your grandchildren.

The first week of last February, I had the great opportunity to compete along with your granddaughter in a bicycle endurance race in Florida. I can’t tell you how much  I enjoyed it, both for the physical effort (350 miles in 4 days) and the beauty of the landscapes, as for what I learned about me, my daughter and you, and most importantly, our relationship. Mati was the same as me, and me as you. Every time I offered her help during the trip, she would answer me with a sharp no, and she would tell me, you worry about changing your clothes and eating. I didn’t really care that she told me that. She was absolutely right. I was unable to do much more after 80 miles biking through sandy roads, swamps and wooded trails and up and down endless paved slopes with the midday sun on our backs. But I did find the reason for my sharp refusal to your offers of help.

When we are young we move with agility, with haste and thousand things to do and ideas in our heads. We are on the run with the minutes counted to begin our next project. And if a mother interferes with them, the steps or multiple stages become endless. You have to have the patience that you acquire over the years to put up with someone else doing what we can do in two minutes. Matilde could set up the tent, boil water, change clothes, lay out our sleeping bags, prepare food in her gas stove and change clothes at the same time that I just took my socks off and hopefully I had put on dried sweatpants to sleep on. If she would have accepted my help we would have died of cold and probably she would have abandoned me in the middle of nowhere. It was in those moments that I realized why I didn’t accept your help. Because I could do things faster than you, and I didn’t have the patience to slow down.

Now that I understand you, I am sorry that I could never talk to you about it. I am glad though that thanks to you, I realize that my daughter doesn’t want to hurt me, that it is only part of life, growing up, being young and old. I was lucky enough to spend with her four intense days in which we talked about it and I told her about my discoveries.
Thanks to you mom, I can understand my daughter. You and me did a good job after all, so will do Matilde. That´s why I am writing it to you. If I didn´t, it wouldn’t exist.

Un beso y abrazo apretao, gallo pelao (as you told my children).

La quiero viejita. No se enoje que haya escrito esto en inglés, pero como todo en mi vida, estoy haciendo un reto, esta vez de escritura.

Su hija que la quiere mucho,

Pia

Bobe and nietos reading
My mom reading to my children when she visited us in Maryland.

 

slice-of-life_individual

Day 21. The well tempered clavier #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 21st:

As usual, I have a plan for what I think I am going to write (or not) and circumstances drive me to a completely different path. I open my computer. It catches my attention today’s Google doodle. It is the first AI powered doodle in honor of Bach who was born March 21 (old style). We can honor him again on March 31st since that’s his birthday in our current Gregorian calendar. 

As soon as I saw Bach’s name, I remembered my mom. I decided to put the Well Tempered Clavier in Spotify in her honor. She loved this entire piece of art. I heard it many, many times during my teen age years, during my twenties and finally during the last 15 days I was with my mom before she died of cancer eight years ago.

As soon as the music started flooding the quietness of my house, a torrent of tears went down from my eyes through my cheeks. Some of them made it to my lips, and their saltiness caught me by surprise.

Every time my mom saw me sad, she invited me to lie down in her bed, and close my eyes. She put the well tempered clavier, and started giving me a soft massage on my back. Magically, I could leave out all my sorrow. I remember the music entering through my pores, invading my body in a way that gave me permission to cry and eventually reach the peace needed after a broken heart.

The last days I stayed next to my mom´s bed, I volunteered playing Bach. She nodded.  A sullen look and an arrhythmic breathing were part of her painful process of leaving this world. When doctors told her that it was just a question of days, she was battling hard, but tired of the waiting. In one point, she gave up and told me she just wanted to die. Still, she felt the need to hold back a little longer to give my dad some time to process the fact that her turn was first.

I pressed the play button.  The music floated tenderly in her room. Her frown started slowly to disappeared, her breathing  got steadier, the wrinkles on her face faded and a gentle smile invaded her face.

My mother always wanted me not to leave her side, and that day I was holding her hand after 22 years of not being with her. This time, I was the one who did not want her to leave my side.

Bach can make miracles, and bring my mom back to my side, blending each other melancholy on a mutual consolation. Every time I feel sad, but can´t get my feelings out, I play the tempered clavier. It´s infallible.

Bobereading
My mom loved to be a grandma.
ww Con la Pía en busca de su destino (Small)
At the airport in Santiago, Chile, when I left my family to go to the US with a Fulbright scholarship. My mom and I were the only ones wearing more colorful clothes. It was July. Winter in Chile. I found this photo on my dad´s computer. The photo has a caption and it says: “With Pia, in search of her destiny”.