People think I’m my mother. They call me Wendy and ask me how John and the girls are. I take it as a compliment although I wonder how my mom would like being mistaken for my grandmother. Not much I think. My own father even mistook me at my son’s Christmas concert, seeing me across the auditorium, knowing he’d left mom at home, yet there she/I was, prompting a relieved and nervous laugh at his own gaffe once he realized he wasn’t demented. That must have been strange for him.
I wonder sometimes where my mother ends and I begin. It’s like we share a brain and actually can speak telepathically, no need to finish a sentence. Along with my sister, we have a language invented over time. It’s private though not a secret, but I doubt any one else could decipher our abbreviated version of the English language, so many inside jokes that I sometimes can’t recall which is the normal way to say an everyday phrase. Everything has been tweaked in a tiny and hilarious way. Is it a “red setter” or “red letter” day? I’m not always sure. “Chachages” (sausages) anyone? This variation of English is chiseled into my general makeup to the point that I’m certain my great great grandchildren will speak it fluently. Will they know where it came from or will they take it for granted, thinking it was born in them like the blood running in their veins? Either way, they’ll be right.
I’ve watched my mom struggling with the loss of my grandmother these past couple of years. I am brought to my knees by her grief, so connected with her that her feelings may as well be my own. Her sorrow scares me. I have been strong enough to overcome insurmountable loss, damage, and fuckedupedness that not even my mom could comprehend. I am still standing. I will ALWAYS prevail. But watching her lose her mom staggers me like nothing in my life ever has. Her despair is a preview of my own and I’m not positive I’ll survive it. After all, how can I go on without my soul? I am everything because of her. My thoughts, my ideas, my heart…. they are only because she made them this way. Shaped them into what they’ve become. The most beautiful and important gift was herself and I am indebted, although I hope that being her mirror is a testament to what she’s given to me. She is me and I am her. And we are glorious.
Our difference amongst our friends marks us. We are strange, struggling for a place in this life that we can deal with, that is bearable for us and it isn’t easy to find. Thank God I was born to this amazing creature. Unlike her, I’ve never been alone here, she’s always reminding me there’s at least one other that’s of my species.
My tissue and sinew and DNA are hers. I lived and grew inside of her, just as she lives, grows, becomes…inside of me. She is my mother. She is myself.