Jilara (jilara) wrote,
Jilara
jilara

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In Memoria Layne Grey Beckman

Beware the Ides of March. It's been 36 years, this morning, since my mom took her own life. And the first time since then that I have come up on the anniversary without her house in my possession. (It was never my father's house. He never related to it as "home" the way she did.) On the last time I was there, I stood on the spot and looked out at the Pacific Ocean (the last thing she saw), and said a prayer. I took a final load of her rock collection up to the family plot, and arranged them on her grave. She would have liked the thought she's taken her collection with her, I think. An inveterate rockhound, she was always carrying them around, moving them around the house, generally enjoying them. They make me think of her in ways that little else can.

Somehow, in this past year, I've finally separated myself from my mother. I've figured out what were her dreams, and what are mine. And which dreams of hers I'd mistaken for mine, because we were so close. And other things. For a while, I had a fear, a superstitious fear that I might not make it past her age, that something would happen. I don't have it any more. Fears also of her numerous and serious physical debilities. I now embrace my own frailties, aches, pains, and limits, and am working on being at peace with them.

Neither saint nor sinner, I see her in her humanity, struggling against fears, against handicaps, trying to do her best, do right by all around her, but never at peace. Until the morning when she realized she couldn't face another day of it.

She made me what I am. Stronger than her, I'm a "Walker Woman," as she always told me, "We're tough. We can come through anything. We're survivors." I've fought the social inequalities that she struggled against. I've broken barriers she couldn't. I've lived well, and done her proud. She probably wouldn't have understood a lot of what makes me fiercely glad and empowers me, but that's fine. Other people do. I do. And she gave me the foundation for getting there.

Thanks, Mom. I still miss you, and am sorry you couldn't hang on to see what you started. But you're part of a continuum. A lot of who you were came from your grandmother Maryjane, that indomitable woman who raised 10 children while homesteading the prairies. The woman who kept you alive after the horrible accident when you were three, and everyone else expected you to die, and your mother fainted every time she looked at you. I'm carrying the strengths of both you and Maryjane, and more. I won't be around to see, or ever fully know, even now, a lot of things I've started, myself. But the effects linger on, down the generations. Thanks for being part of it. I love you.
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