A Journey Inside the Mother-Mind
One sunny Christmas on the Gulf Coast, it wasn’t scandal or trauma that tore my family to pieces. It was that motherly desire for togetherness that finally drove us apart.
Illustrations by J. Longo
This past year, I told my mother, by text, that I would not be home for the holidays. She replied, “Whatever you wish.”
A couple of years prior, my family’s corpse lay strewn on the beach and I had spent a considerable amount of time since then trying to figure out the cause of death. Murder? Illness? Comorbidities? Drowning? Failure to thrive?
It happened on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where my sixty-seven-year-old mother lived alone. I had arrived for a weeklong stay and she asked me urgently whether I had told my brother I was planning to visit her. My brother lives in Hawaii. “Did you even tell him???” she asked with a hint of hysteria in her voice. “I’m pretty sure I mentioned it,” I said, which was true, but I also know that I hadn’t mentioned it recently. “Well, he didn’t know!” she said, trembling with a pretzeled-up rage. She felt that my failure to tell him was a deliberate unkindness to her and to him, but mostly to her. She anticipated that my brother — a…