That’s What My Mama Said

From time to time, in conversations with me or with others near me, people have often uttered words of wisdom or other sayings their mothers have oft repeated to them when they were growing up. They often parrot their mothers with pride or at minimum, with a sense of profound respect. I, however, do not recall any such words from my mother.

I was with my mother for almost 13 years before her murder. During that time, we spent many, many hours together, but I do not recall any sagacious words or pithy sayings that would later serve to guide me through this life. That is not to say my mother never spoke any words of wisdom; it is to say, if she did, I do cannot recall.  But what I do remember are the things she did that are tattooed into the heart of my mind.

To be sure, words can be as important as deeds; though deeds tend to have a longer shelf life. Accordingly, I remember a mother who cooked and cleaned for seven children and an ogre who beat her mercilessly. I remember a mother with whom I would walk for what seemed like miles to Receiving Hospital in Detroit. Upon arrival, we would wait, literally for many hours, before a doctor would see me about my migraine headaches  [headaches that evaporated once I no longer lived with him]. I remember a mother who confided in me about her husband’s infidelity and other cruelties – as if I were the only one she could confide in. I remember a mother who, after she left her tormentor and us, would meet me on my way to school and walk with me each day. I remember a mother who would watch my siblings and me from a safe distance as we played in our backyard. I remember a mother who could have completely abandoned us after being brutalized for more than ten years by the “god” of our hell – but did not. Finally, I remember a mother who let her guard down because I was standing there – neither of us knowing what his plan was – for me to be the audience to her murder.

I do not remember any words of motherly wisdom; I only remember her motherly deeds. Admittedly, there are times when I hear others repeat their mother’s words, I wish I could hear in my mind some words of wisdom that my mother spoke, but I cannot. Nonetheless, I take comfort in remembering the things she did as my mother. I guess it can be said that her actions spoke words of love rather than words of wisdom — and love was what I needed most.

Published in: on April 29, 2012 at 4:54 AM  Leave a Comment  
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