I have no pictures of her,
my friend's Mom who died when we were 18.
I first met my friend B. when we were in middle school;
her small house was the bus stop;
I think we were both new the area but don't really remember
but one snowy cold winter day she invited
myself and siblings in while we were waiting for the bus
for hot cocaco;
it was a small comfortable kitchen with wooden cupboards
and she mixed-up Swiss Miss for us all.
I remember being warmed by the company and the hot cocoa.
My friend's actions were warm and nurturing, natural...
We went to different schools but in time we were friends
and would visit; I esp. remember visiting in the summer.
My new friends often had the TV on and it was always to
soap operas, not something we were even allowed to
watch at my house and nothing I could relate to.
I lived in the beautiful countryside and before we moved,
I had no neighbours at all.
So to have some kids my age near by was nice.
Their house was always clean, tidy.
I have vividly in my memory meeting their
Mom for the first time,
she was shorter than myself, petite,
naturally blond hair, a bit on the
strawberry blond side I think.
Pale blue eyes that had a warmth and also
a story that she would not tell I think;
her voice was kind, husky,
adult sounding, she looked as young as her second daughter,
and could of been a twin.
When I told her what was obvious,
she seemed surprised as if no one had told them this before.
She was not a Mother who was trying to look as young as her
daughter, she just happened to look this way,
though now that I think of it she was,
in her deeper voice and older eyes,
very much the adult.
To this day I don't know if I have every met
someone that seemed so accepting of others.
I was deeply struck by this.
I remember she was wearing a clean thick white robe,
a white towel neatly wrapping her wet hair;
I must of been over in the morning.
I did not see her often but was always
impressed by her presence.
Well, the last time I saw her she was bringing a can of coffee over
to the new widower of the first Mother who died in October of 1994.
It was a wretched year for my family, for myself;
the first Mother and the second Mother had become friends
over the years, sharing, I am sure,
a love of flower gardening and now I wonder
if they shared other burdens as well,
that as a young teen I really knew nothing about.
I grew up church-home-school in a simple unity;
CRC church, CRC school, CRC home.
My family was in tact, my father loving, gentle and given to teasing,
my mother funny, great sense of humour and deep practicality that was rooted
in a family of 8 of who she is the youngest and a
long standing Dutch Christian piety that we were all raised in.
Somehow the other neighbours were quite different;
so much so that my Mother was worried about me being with some of them,
though she never stopped me.
She always gave me freedom I realize now and that in the end
I think saved me more than if she had put down huge disciplinary
ways, esp. as thankfully I had not inclination to party
or do anything that would of endangered myself.
I was a lonely kid, no question about it.
But I was not the kind of kid to try to escape it by partying, etc.
So, there we were in I think late in Winter of 1995.
We were really still reeling for the first death of that first Mother
of four who died; I remember a dark night, the sun had set
and we were eating a lateish dinner and heard ambulances racing by,
not normal for the countryside but that's all we knew
and we were a family that tended to be quiet and keep to oneself.
So it was not until probably two days later, I think on a Sunday afternoon,
that my brother told my Mother or the other neightbour told my Mother,
don't remember, that it was the other Mother down the street from the
first Mother who had died.
This second Mother,
was on life support; a tragic accident....
I was shocked; I knew this family more than the
rest of my family and I called them immediately,
their phone number was just two digits different than ours.
The youngest daughter answered,
they had just taken her off life support she said
and you can come over if you'd like.
She was gone after 3 days and they were going to cremate her.
I went right over....
I went to the funeral; I think I must of gotten out of school to do so;
I think it was in the morning;
it was horrible; horrible in that the priest did not know her
but had been briefed about her;
it was my first time in our local Catholic church;
at that time I knew nothing about other branches of Christianity,
only that our CRC church of course thought they
were the right one.
I think that I remember hearing murmuring
about how the priest did not know her;
how when he said she loved planting vegetables even I knew she did not do this;
only flowers, beauty only thank you!
And when the priest mentioned heaven,
well that was the worst moment; the Mother's Mother cried out in a loud
lament and was carried out at the end of the funeral,
unable to walk.
I did not talk to her then or see her again, but her agony I have not forgotten.
I don't think I ever processed this death and how the people she knew loved her,
how they found poetry of hers hidden away and that they
saw that she was not happy internally.
How they loved her,
how she was gone,
how she was beautiful in her simplicity
and in how kind and accepting she was of others;
I knew that if someone needed a place to stay and then
overstayed the welcome, she could not turn them away;
her husband would have to gently move the person on.
And that is the Second Mother;
you don't need to know their real names but unbelievably,
the two Mothers who died,
they share the same name.