Today I saw my mother for the first time. That’s not to say I hadn’t met her before; I grew up with her, of course. Today I was leafing through photos and I found one of the more recent ones of my mother. She is standing in our garden with my brother. She is squinting in the sun, smiling but tired, and she looks proud. For the first time I saw her as others must: all limp hair, crooked teeth and middle-age. For the first time I saw her as something less than beautiful.
I think that until today my image of my
mother was immortalised, as is the way with the dead. When I looked at
her picture I could see only her gentleness, her soft skin and her bravery. I
could smell her, hear her, feel her beating heart through the coarse fabric of
her favourite sweater (which is now mine). Every picture was a collage of all her most admirable
traits. I couldn’t see for love, and now there is only sight.