When Hillary was interviewed before she went on the stage to give her acceptance speech as the presumptive nominee for the Democratic candidate for President, (When did ‘presumptive’ become a word? And there must be a way to rewrite that sentence so it’s shorter) she was asked what she thought her mother would say. Her answer was predictable, but true. Her mother would be very proud. Her mother had encouraged her to be her own person and strive to be successful. So far so good. But, what she was not asked was: “Do you talk to your mother?” and “Is your mother still giving you advice?”
Almost every woman I know who had some kind of a relationship with her deceased parents, especially moms, still has a conversation with her mom. It doesn’t matter how long She’s been gone or if, when Mom was alive, they “got on.” My Mom never understood who I was, or anything I did. Word has it that she was very proud of me, but if so, she told strangers how she felt, not me. Luckily, her sisters were there for me, and she had six of them. But it appeared to most people that we never had a loving mother-daughter thing. There were many wasted years when we hardly spoke. For whatever reason, it was easy for me not to talk to people with whom I was angry. So it was no big deal. That being said, my brother and sister-in-law, and I took very good care of her when she started to decline. My children adored her, and she adored them.
Mom, Honey, moi, Peppy, Rosalie -- the Girls
Then, after she died, I remembered things she did or said that were exceptional — hilarious. She, like my kids, was very, very funny. There were times when things she did or said sent us running from the room before we peed in our pants. Like the time Tina put on all her gold jewelry, (fake of course) tons of it, and waited for my mother to react. Straight faced and without missing a beat, she gave us the “Rosie look” and said, “it will always look better on me than on you.”
Anyway, when my dad had his leg amputated, she had it buried in some distant family grave. Since Jews don’t move body parts once they are in the ground, it was obvious that she was going to be buried next to his leg, and eventually to him. “Ma” we said, “If you both are buried there, its so far out on Long Island, that we will never visit.” She said she figured we would never visit her anywhere, so it didn’t matter. But it does. And I do travel great distances to stand at her, as my aunt Peppy said, tombstone - to chat. At some point I realized I could chat with her no matter where I was. So I find myself talking to her. And depending on the situation, I talk to my Aunts. But mostly I talk to my mother. Guess I am making up for all the time I didn’t speak to her. If I am confused or need someone to solve a problem, I ask her advice. Does she answer me? Well, I can hear her voice in my head, so I guess, yes.
There is a terrible hole in my heart, an emptiness that is always there. It could be the loss of so many friends and family and it could be a vacancy that I can’t fill because who knows what the future will be. Dealing, or not dealing with the age thing is exhausting. Probably because getting old is such a surprise. Where did the time go? Can you believe that we are so old that we are afraid to say how old— things like that. Things that have no answer.
So does Hillary talk and listen to her mother? Who knows, but my guess is she absolutely does. We’re just sayin’….Iris