Many years ago, Mom accompanied my brother, sister, and me to the three-hour Good Friday service at our parish church. Though this was meant to be a somber ritual, I remember feeling a definite spark of hope, a very nice glow. Perhaps Mom would go out more, join us in our outings downtown, to the museum, to the beach.
On a warm, sunny day in June, we were preparing for a visit to the Grandparents, one of our Sunday trips, and as we stood talking – Mom was not late that day – she asked us “What would you think about having a baby brother or sister?” I was an eighth grader, the eldest, and I knew – though who knows how I knew – that it took nine months before a baby was ready to be born. Our new sibling was due in December. Our input would not affect this.
We all said, “Really? That’s great!” I don’t know what the others were thinking. I selfishly thought that we would have less of Mom’s attention, and that, unlike my hopes and dreams, would spend less time just enjoying doing things together.
Today is Good Friday, 2015. Mom is gone. My youngest sister is the most lovely person I know. But raising her was hard for Mom, as she was already exhausted from dealing with the rest of us. Ordinarily I spend this “quiet day” reading, walking, reflecting. My reflections today are taking me back to the past, when our childlike hopes were sometimes denied or had to be revised.
I do not plan the future. I worked so hard at not being trapped by the past, that I hold only a few memories as dear and sacred. I am here today. It is a cold but sunny day, and I’ve got a spring cold. I’m writing. Later, I’ll pick daffodils and tulips for my neighbor, and walk down to the church for a short visit.
The Metta prayer from the Buddhists, which was taught to us by Sylvia Boorstein, comes to mind. May I be safe. May I be healthy. May I be strong. May I live calmly. *** To those whose lives brush against mine: May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you be strong. May you live in peace and serenity.