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Time to move Mom

In Ephemory, Ruth is helping her Mother, Carole, pack her apartment for a move to the assisted living facility. Handling her memorabilia triggers the memories that Ruth is longing for. What precedes the decision to move Mom?

You are Beautiful

I hadn’t heard my mother say a complete coherent sentence in a couple of years. She had been a relentlessly verbal person. In the last good years she would buttonhole a few folks at my parties and pin them in loquacious assault. These acts of self-perpetuation were unstoppable—beyond reason or interception. One on one, I [...]

The Project–Ephemory

My floor is littered with scraps and patches; each one seems to require special permission. Sometimes the patch conceals a hole; sometimes it weaves new cloth. Certainly what happened is important. But it’s ephemeral, conjectural, contextual and it’s evocative.

Registered Alien

I worried about Mommy when the voice reminded registered aliens to report their addresses to the Post Office. Did Mommy have to do this? Did she know? Had she taken care of it? The stern man interrupted my afternoon cartoons. Failure to register was a federal offense. Was my mother an alien? I knew they [...]

Receiving the gift

I listen to the life leave you and I’m told there’s not much time. I must write your story. I may tell your story. The elusive gifts of urgency and permission. Your story never had time for doubt: can I do it? will it be right? enough? You dove in and made things happen. That’s [...]

Legacy

I need to know, how did it go for you? How did you do it? How did you negotiate all the unknowns? How did you discover and tame your feelings? How did you learn to live with sadness and fear? How did you take care of yourself? I want to know with all the intimacy we’ve never had, that I never knew was possible, that you never allowed maybe anyone.

You are the last one left

Are you a weathered post supporting more weight than any trespasser has a right to expect? What is the last feeling of the bygone era, the last first-person blessing or curse to be landed against a too well-known opponent? Mom, does the emptiness of loss cast a sidelong knowing-sort-of glance, a nod of recognition even, before he pulls away yet another rug?

More on Loneliness–Ruth

And you, Mom? You knew that loneliness at such an early age. But you’ve never complained about it, not when Grandma was sick, not when you were nursing Dad, or after he died, or when your friends started to move away to go live with their children. Even now you won’t let the word take hold in the room.

Berta contemplates Carole’s leaving

Family is so important. It’s where you come from. It’s who will care about you, no matter what. We all need that. We are lucky when we have that and now, my own daughter to be torn away from me by these terrible times. Why should she suffer and be called names and have stones thrown at her. But why should she have to leave to have a decent life.

Ruth remembers

I wasn’t at all sure of getting the rules right and (I) relegated myself to a subordinate tier in some popularity system that I sensed and continued to apply to all situations in my life. As uncomfortable as I might have been at school, I treasured my time away from home.