What does certainty me to me? My concept of this term has changed, evolved, matured as I have. From the moment we are born we are moving toward what many people consider the ultimate certainty, death. Scattered between are moments of conviction in the constant crescendos and decrescendo of our lives.
As I sat down to write this essay, I reviewed my own life trying to recall instances where I was certain about a personal decision, a situation I was involved in, or information I had been given. When I looked these memories over I found that the certitudes of childhood gave way to adolescent assurances which have been followed by firmness in my beliefs tempered by maturity.
As a little girl I believed the warm cocoon of family life would continue unchanged. My parents would never age and they would always have the right answers to my questions. Sometime during my journey through adolescence, however, my parents were evidently struck by a strange disease which transformed them. In my eyes they suddenly appeared and acted as though they were one hundred years old. Likewise their capacity to furnish correct answers disappeared overnight. When I married I knew I would never make the same mistakes my parents had made with me. I was going to be the perfect mom. WRONG!!!
That “bubble” of certainty has been broken over and over again during the years since I gave birth to my son and daughter. My parents have regained their former wisdom and I seem to be closing the gap with them a a frightening pace. “Certainty” has come full circle for me. I must continually remind myself that nothing but my faith in God should be a foregone conclusion.
–Lynda L. L.P. (aka, my mother), 3.15.1995
Every year on this date I like to do something to remember my mother’s life on the anniversary of her death. This year I felt the urge to pull out an essay she wrote for college. She had begun to take a class here and there while I was in college. I can remember her worrying over the pieces she was writing. It’s no wonder where I get my own perfectionistic tendencies. At this point in my life I find her words particularly poignant as I struggle with how best to parent my son as he heads into adolescence. There have been many times since she died that I have wished I could ask her for advice or just wished that I could talk to her about parenting, about life. I think as my son’s drive for autonomy increases, I feel her absence more keenly than when my children were wee babes. I want to ask, “Mom, how did you do it? How did you make it through with my brother and I and still be so loving, so supportive toward us?” Perhaps her essay is a clue as to how she would answer my me.
Mom & I, August 1997
This is the last picture that was taken of us together before she died on Nov 5, 1997. It’s poor quality and not a great shot, but I have it framed nonetheless.