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A Mother’s Purpose: At least The Way Her Son Sees It

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Not long ago I was sitting with my mother talking about life. I could see the wandering in her eyes, a sadness that comes to them every so often, one that we both share, and I could see her past had visited her. It’s something that many of us try to understand or comprehend. The past is a trickster in a folklore tale and it likes to sneak up on you to play its games. Even the most mindful souls cannot stop their mind from taking a tour of their personal history.

Memory can be both joyous and brutal. In a moment's notice it can bring laughter and tears, and sometimes all within the same thought. I have come to terms with my past and now approach it with great curiosity, as I realized it has shaped me into the man I am. I know that I could have easily taken a different road, one that would have led to self-destruction. Instead, I welcome it all, accept the emotions that the memories bring, and then come back to the present moment, realizing it is all I now have.

I sit across from her and ask her how she is doing and has she lived the life she has wanted? My mother and I do not steer clear of deep conversation. We know it is often necessary in order to reflect. I see her eyes grow a little dark, meaning depression has visited and she is trying to work through it. When two people face each other and both share the darkness of depression, you can sense it, feel it, in one another. It can sometimes be a subtle gesture and at other times it becomes absorbed in every pour of your body. That is why most depressives are also empaths.

“I lived the best life I could,” she says.

When someone is dying, I would think it would be natural to reflect on their life and wonder if they lived the life they wanted. It is why I often ask the question now why I am still relatively young and healthy, “Am I living the life I want?”

She continues to talk about her wishes. Her story is hers to tell, but a few things that came from her was wishing she had more education, as she was denied a high school graduation because she became pregnant in a marriage that was, for a lack of better word, forced. She did not see herself living the life she has had, maybe traveling more, having a different career, experiencing romance, and her list went on. As I have said before, it is her story to tell and it is unfolding on a keyboard in a one bedroom apartment, coming from tired fingers and a mind that is intact, and I hope she is finding the courage to tell the truth in its entirety. For writers must tell the truth, even if it is hard for others to read. Otherwise, all the words are compromised, and words need an honest place to live. There is now a sense of urgency for the story to be revealed because when she is gone, it will be what is left, a story for all of us to read and reread. A tale of sorts, where we will have the choice to open ourselves up to her journey or close the pages until we are ready.

I listen to the life she wanted and I find pleasure in picturing her in a different setting with a different experience. And, the thing I find humorous and comforting, is I did not see myself as a part of this other life that she talked about. I was not a thought, nor were my siblings, and I think a mother has a right to that mental freedom, to picture a life lived without the responsibility of being a parent. I enjoyed hearing this and it made me happy for her for a brief moment. It’s not to say she did not want her children, just the opposite, but it was intriguing to hear how she once had different dreams and a different vision for herself. I believe, as she was talking, she may have been searching for purpose or validation for a life that is almost lived to its end.

I offered her a different take on how I see her life and the purpose, and many burdens, that she has had to carry. I simply said, “Perhaps you were here because you were meant to be a mother.” We both paused at this. I continued, “You raised children, and hopefully they are grateful for what you have done for them and the sacrifices that you have made. Hopefully they recognize the abuse that you have endured in order for them to grow into functioning adults. I for one know for a fact, that I would not have survived my childhood without you. You were the one that I looked forward to seeing every time I walked in the door. I needed you to be there and love me. I needed your strength to raise me to be a man. The way I see it, your purpose was to be a mother.”

She simply thanked me for that and seemed somewhat validated as we shuffled out the door for a drive in the country.

No words could be created without women. They are the reason why we are all here. For my mother I say this, to never have any regrets. The path that you have taken and the one that you have led your children on was meant to be. Our resilience comes from you and the lessons that you have taught along the way and the ones you are currently instructing us on. You are a teacher, one that engages your pupils with stories, both spoken and written. You are a poet warrior and are showing us what it means to love your children because you are staying here for us, enduring the pain, fighting the war in your body, so that you can leave us with the greatest lesson you have ever taught, and that is that love always endures. Your love will remain long after you are gone and it will carry on for many lifetimes. That has been your purpose, at least from your son’s eyes.

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