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She is a Light that Still Shines on Me

10 Feb

Phyllis Danzig

It is exactly 20 years today since my mother passed away. I have had many thoughts over the last few days about what I would want to write to commemorate her. Twenty years is a long time. If you’ve read my posts before, you know that I have a pretty easy time focusing on the positive and celebrating my mom.  But sometimes (and I know you’ll understand), I get mad and maudlin that she’s gone at all.  I was having one of those moments while watching the very special and wonderful Beatles 50th Anniversary Show last night. And, just then, John Legend and Alicia Keys sang, “Let it Be.” Those of us who thought the Mother Mary in the song was the Virgin Mary, found out that we were mistaken. Paul McCartney was inspired to write the song when he had a dream about his mom speaking to him.  “He also said in a later interview about the dream that his mother had told him ‘It will be all right, just let it be’” (Wikipedia and multiple sources).  And, that is just what happens to me over and over again. Even throughout the last twenty years, just as she did during the thirty years we shared, my mom whispers to me. She doesn’t always tell me to let things be. Sometimes, she tells me what action to take or how to react. I have written about the risks (http://wp.me/p1lBgS-6V) she encouraged me to take and how I still “listen” to her. I am just so glad and so fortunate that I can still hear her voice and feel her wisdom.

Watching the show last night and thinking about the crazy 1960’s, I realized I do not know much about how my mom felt about The Beatles.  I do not think she was crazy about them. I know about some of the music she liked (http://wp.me/p1lBgS-6V), but not a lot. I would love to know her reaction to the Feb. 9, 1964 Ed Sullivan show, which incidentally, happened when she was about 6 months pregnant with me! I know details about where she was (Bloomingdales in NYC) and how she reacted when JFK was shot and she was a few months pregnant with me, but nothing about The Beatles.

I do know that, especially now, I am grateful to Paul McCartney for putting into words the feeling I have had for the past twenty years. One of the ways that I have coped with being a motherless daughter is by letting it be.  It is so true that

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary (Phyllis) comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be…”

(http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beatles/letitbe.html)

And, I am very lucky that because Phyllis Danzig was my mom, “There is still a light that shines on me.”

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How Kim Kardashian Inspired this Post

10 Feb

Strange—coming from someone who does not watch reality TV and knows very little about the Kardashians. Yet, somehow I stumbled upon a story about Kim reaching out to John Edward, the psychic, to communicate with her dead father, Robert Kardashian. Triggered by the story, my son asked me, “If you could ask your mom one question, what would it be?” I found Kim’s quest and my son’s query apropos since today is my mom’s Yahrzeit (18th anniversary of her death) and the one year anniversary of my blog.

Like Kim, or maybe to avoid a difficult decision, I replied to my son that what I’d really like is to have a conversation. One question would not be enough. But, what if that’s all I had, what would I ask? I truly feel stifled by this limitation. I have so many questions. Lately, I wonder what my mom’s childhood was like. I remember some stories she told about walking home from school and living near The Bronx Zoo. There are the mundane things I want to know: What did you wear to school? What was your favorite subject? Who was your favorite teacher? As I brainstorm, I wonder, do we really think to ask these questions while our moms are able to answer? And, I have serious questions about my childhood and her mothering: How did you endure my tantrums? What did you worry about the most while I was a teenager? And, then there are the questions about parenting, how did you decide when to give me an open curfew?  Did you know what went on at parties (not sure how I’d respond….)?  And, there are the philosophical questions—what do you most regret?

The real question I’d love to ask my mother is to have a lunch date with me. We did not indulge in enough leisurely lunches. Simple lunches. More than dinner, eating lunch out, a ladies’ lunch, is a treat. I’d ask her to got to Coco on Main Street because they serve Hale and Hearty soup and I remember her stories about eating lunch at Hale and Hearty in Manhattan. At lunch we could talk about the mundane and the heavy. We’d have the conversation I so desire.

I’d want to tell her that as time goes on and as I raise my children, I become even more certain that she and my dad were amazing parents.  I would ask questions, but really just hope for reassurance and guidance. I started this blog to express how much I am still influenced by my mom. I enjoy exploring our relationship, remembering details and imagining what could have been. I am grateful for your interest. And, I would love to know what question you wish you could ask your mom. And, if she is part of your life, maybe you can still ask.