Mother, May I

Your love is tearing me apart. Wide open flood gushes of white, transparent bubble adoration overflowing magnificent from beyond the ether. I didn’t know you, I couldn’t understand how gut-wrenching, excruciating it was for you to say good-bye.

I wasn’t even a concept.

You knew me already. I was in your best-laid plans, secrets, and subconscious desires. I was your home, your perfect glass house vision where fishhooks and dinner bell chimes rang happy.

I’m so very sorry; my heart is spliced open. I didn’t understand the pain you must have felt when you closed your forever eyes. To slumber but not to sleep, to miss the moments, and the chance to kiss and hug your life goodbye.

I couldn’t. I didn’t know about you. The beautiful, erect, stately presence that would shine blinding, the rough diamond reminder, illuminating the same walls and floors I walk upon. The grass you planted lovingly, the roses you cured and cultivated. The manhattans you enjoyed, and sweet smelling molasses legacy. The tender smell of a lilac breeze, so calming and familiar when I inhale deep behind closed eyes.

I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry I didn’t see your mirror reflection in my eyes. How could I?

I hoped you might be near; goose bump clues and spirited suspicions. The ever-curious offspring, persistent, and questioning the elegant, graceful ways you walked through a simple, stately life. Cataloging and storing away the faded memories in an antiquated, burgundy lined jewelry box for a later date.

I was too busy running and monopolizing time. Tick tock, clock. Time to say hello, and goodbye.

I’m not a child anymore, am I.

Am I?

I’m sorry I wasn’t there to understand the grief and agony, the hello and goodbye, gone too soon. Your babies, they’d miss out on all the delightful days and days stripped gut ripped of your stable presence.

I’m sorry I didn’t understand your pain, your tears, your grief, and your life.

Until now, I am seeing you living for the first time.

And, understanding.

My open heart is busting. The tears flooding I cry are yours, not mine.

I couldn’t grasp the unbreakable, embryonic cord conduit that forever connects us. The blood, oxygen and nutrients possessing the very best parts of you, and the holiest, treasured, most sacred parts of me.

I couldn’t know the unbearable, gut-wrenching mother-daughter bond.

The heartbreaking pure pretty, precious perfect, lofty weight we would share divided from opposite understanding, and Heaven’s ends.

I have loved you more than I can bear, without question.

Mother, may I call you mother even though you never belonged to me, only indirectly?

You birthed her, and she is the most exquisite gift you could have presented. From here, and somewhere beyond orbital rotations, ever-changing seasons and square boxes, I am alive. Where glass houses are only silly, fanciful dream figments of an overactive, exuberant, well-meaning child’s imagination.

I will find you, and her again, in the ether. I will run to you from the other side, arms open and beaming with pride.

I never understood until the floodgates broke open, and I felt your love encompassing me inside the bubble, protective, nurturing and quieting.

Your life shorn, the sweet regret rushing through my blood and veins into my pulsating, welcoming, pumping heart alive. I feel you, and the walls come crashing down.

I won’t forget. I won’t.

I won’t forget one single memory, from you to her to me. The glass house dream passed down belongs to the present inhabitants. The stars shine lovely and sparkle plenty from outside my windowpane.

I wonder, did you shine, sprinkle and fill them with your light so pretty?

I won’t give up. I won’t waste my time. I will embrace the thorn prickly pain and the mind blinding joy. I promise.

Divinely, sublimely and with the grace of a God you whisper, “don’t give up,” while I slumber.

This life is the most beautiful life, a waking dream.

Mother, may I.

May Gertrude Hoerger Hickey recently visited me through a medium during a group session. (Sounds crazy, hocus-pocus but perfectly normal too). I was pleasantly surprised not expecting or looking for her to make an appearance. I had grabbed my dad’s St. Christopher metal and stuffed it in my pocket that morning, along with my adored cousin’s watch. I was secretly praying for a message from one, or both.

The medium pointed in my direction and said one word, “mother.”

I shook my head vehemently and quickly raised my hand in protest, “oh no you don’t, no way, my mother’s not dead. She’s still here, with me.”

I didn’t know my mother’s mother. She was dead long before my arrival and yet somehow, I knew her intimately through my mother’s memories and my ever annoying, persistent probing and prodding curiosity.

“It’s her mother. You’re wearing her ring.” The medium responded.

I don’t wear May’s ring often. It’s colossal, garish, the too precious diamond solitaire worn only on special occasions but I slipped it on that morning in haste, and quickly forgot.

“Don’t give up.”

The medium was insistent as she spoke the words and the hair raised on my arms.

Three simple words carried massive meaning, hope, faith and weight.

“Divine order.” The medium nodded in affirmation.

I wish my faith were rock solid like the blinding, multi-faceted, transparent solitaire I long admired and now twirl on my ring finger absentmindedly.

It’s not. It’s shaky at best, clouded and unsteady. I do believe in spirits, a mystical energy presence, and hers lives inside the walls I call home.

I find meaning and quieting purpose inside words like birthright, heirlooms and legacy. They are my true north and the purest, simplest gifts I can offer a mother from her daughter’s heart and beyond.

A mother’s love is not possessed but ours only for a brief, borrowed time until we must pay it back.

The motherly memories and words are mine but belong to the heavens, ether and invisible mysteries we cannot fully explain away or comprehend.

“We are born with a fixed expiration date, yet we carry on, walking this earth the best we can until we’re pixie dust. Cherished, kept alive in memory and yellow parchment, we become precarious, aged photographs in a cardboard box. Lives touch, intersect in the most unpredictable yet meaningful ways. The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life. —Excerpt from Georgia Pine, by Jacqueline Cioffa

Photo Credit: Stephen O Flickr via Compfight cc

Jacqueline Cioffa

A retired, international model, and celebrity makeup artist. Co-Author of Model Citi Zen, the guide. Founder of Author of numerous prose pieces in various literary magazines. Most recently published in Little Episodes Brainstorms the anthology, among esteemed artists Sadie Frost, Melvin Burgess and Todd Swift.

  1. Jackie Cioffa

    I love how in sync your are with the energy that surrounds us. It manifests in your beautiful prose and the deep connections you share with your earthlings and the spirit world. Thank you for reading this piece, and the lovely sentiments. It means so much.

    Wishing you lightness and joy,

  2. Avatar

    Yes, I’m a firm believer in some sort of afterlife, Jackie. Plenty of things have happened in my life that’ve helped me feel that way, but the visit to the medium pretty much cemented it. There’s absolutely no way she could’ve known the things she did unless she’d been investigating my family for years.

    Fun? Hell yes! Wishing you lots and lots! xox

  3. C. Streetlights

    I firmly believe we are surrounded by those who have lived before, the spiritual not too far separated from the earthly. Such a profound energy I feel from this, Jackie. I love the connection your grandmother has with you and the ties that keep her there with you.

  4. Jackie Cioffa

    Thank you, Mary.

    I find the idea that were here and then nothing impossible to grasp.
    They’re have been too many mediums and ‘signs’ along the way that this life is not the end but a continuation of sorts. I’m so happy to hear your medium helped you in life altering ways. Amazing!
    My mom always says her mother sent me (she’d been surrounded by brothers, husbands and sons prior). I don’t know but I’m choosing to believe in the ether.
    Star stuff, we are.

    So let’s have some fun and our minds open along the way…
    Love and light, friend.

  5. Avatar

    Jackie, this is beautiful and intense. I have only been to one medium–also in a group session–and the experience was life altering. I hope you’re able to spend more time with your grandmother in this lifetime–sounds like you’ll both enjoy getting to know each other.

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