In the days that followed her passing, during the grim perfunctory tasks that come with cleaning up after a life, my mother’s handwritten journals made their way into my hands. There were five books in all, each one spiral bound with a very Hallmark-esque pastel flowery cover. Newspaper clippings and hard copies of emails received rained from the books when handled.
Mom told us, my sister and I, before she passed, that she wanted us to read them; indeed, our eventual reading of them was her sole purpose for writing them. She wanted her children to know her, as an adult, in a way she never got to know her parents. My sister grazed through them immediately after her funeral; I read through a couple of the books during business trips over the Pacific in the subsequent months. I think subconsciously, neither one of us was ready to absorb any of the words – not yet.
When everything went sideways with my “real job” a little over a year later, and I realized I needed a break, the first thing that came to mind was to write something – anything – to blow off the accumulated steam of cynicism and frustration. The very next thought was that I needed to write about my mother – once I realized I wanted to write, I couldn’t fathom writing about any other subject.