Motherless Child

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***

It will come
When you’re broken,
When your heart is finally open,
When you’re down,
Down and troubled,
When you’re lost among the rubble* …

***

I sat at the counter waiting for my food to come.

Hiding my face under my Virgin of Guadalupe trucker hat.

“Excuse me,” said a woman who had come to my side. “Are you okay?”

I was startled by her, and even more startled by her question.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” she continued. “Anything at all?”

Her concern was so genuine.

“Could you be my mother?” I asked, smiling at the woman who was about my age.

“I can do that!” she said happily, and as I looked at her I saw how much she looked like a younger version of my own mother. “Can you tell me what’s wrong?”

“I’m raising a 14-year old girl,” I said, as if that explained everything.

“Oh, my,” she said. “I know how that can be. I have a 15-year old girl, and she was hospitalized two years ago for suicidal ideation. It was really terrible. But I have my faith and I know it’s her journey and I’m just here to support her. It’s so hard to watch as a mother.  But, here …” she said, grasping the hand of a smaller, older version of herself who had been at the register paying for lunch. “This is my mother. You can have her, too!”

“Hi, honey,” said the mother of my new mother.

Looking even more like my own mother.

“Would you like to join us for lunch?” they asked …

***

“Mama, do you love me?” my girl asked.

She beckoned me to sit by her side in the restaurant booth.

When I slid in next to her, she curled up into me.

“Why do people think it’s weird that we are so loving to each other?” she asked, snuggling in close with her head on my breast.

I wrapped my arms around her.

“I don’t know,” I said, kissing the top of her head again and again.

I breathed slowly and deeply and felt her body relax into mine.

But, I thought. It is what’s saving us both.

Love heals.

Only Love.

* Lyrics to “Her Mercy” by Glen Hansard

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