This story is important only to me and a few people who lived it, people with my last name. I tell it because there should be a record of my momma’s sacrifice even if it means unleashing ghosts, because it is one of the few ways I can think of…to repay her for all the suffering she absorbed for us, for me.
— Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shouting
That gold lame dress I wrote about last week? It’s real. It used to belong to my mother, who handed it down to me when she figured she was in the twilight of her gold dress wearing years. Lord knows the last time she wore this shimmery little number (maybe she can recall), but the post I wrote last week about “Real Moms” stirred up memories of a more fabulous time for her, of a time when she looked (her words) “pretty hot” in a dress that her daughter hasn’t worn in eight years.
Her revelation was one of those things that makes you feel closer to or more compassionate for a mom you perhaps fought a little harder than you should have in your teens, or who you put the fear of God in by traipsing off to countries that she may have felt weren’t, shall we say, European enough. All of a sudden, as you sit there brushing dark brown hair color into her paper white roots you wish you could give her back her natural brown, her shimmyrific dress, the peace she richly deserves, that same bit of peace your father, a large scale Hurricane, and so many other things have stolen from her over the years.
When she called at 4 p.m. today to tell me this, I just wanted to scream until my head exploded. Because while shit happens, it just seems so unjust that the chips have fallen for her like this again and again as of late. Why should a woman who has given so much of herself have to suffer when her ex-husband, a felon who never did shit for his daughters, gets to live fairly comfortably off his father’s estate? It makes me angry. It makes me want to kick down the walls of my house. And it makes me hope that if I say a prayer tonight for my mother, a woman who needs that very desperately right now, that whatever higher power there is will hear it, act accordingly, and forgive me for turning to faith only when the shit feels too tough to bear.