My Mother’s Portrait

There is a sadness I’ve carried with me all my life and I did so even when I had no idea that I did. And it is this: how I lost my mother as a child and how I searched for her in all the alleys, all the back roads and all the mountains I climbed. Even when I had no idea that I did.

And I think one of the things you miss the most when your mother is gone is the way she gazes at you to make sure no harm befalls you. So you walk the earth without the blessed gaze that guides and confers protection on you. Naked. Fully naked.

And I have told this to my daughter—what it’s like to go through life without your mother’s gaze on you. And I’ve told her this because I want her to know she will always have my gaze. Always. Always. Forever.

The way I now know that my mother’s gaze never left me. Even as I thought it did.

And I love that my daughter painted a portrait of my mother, the grandmother she has never met but loves and honors nonetheless. This painting now sits on my desk.

My mother gazing at me. And me gazing back at her.
A gift from the daughter I’ve gazed at all her life. And for always.

And I love how it all comes together, our little circle of mothers and daughters. And that one woman who lived briefly.

Or did she?

My mother lives in me. She lives in my daughter so well that my little one has captured quite well her grandmother’s loving gaze.

All I need to know about love is in my mother’s gaze.


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