SATURDAY WAS MY MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY, and I have thought about her even more than usual these past few days.
And in this thinking, I've come to realize how the quality of her love defined her, and set her apart from nearly everyone else I've known in my life. My mother loved fiercely, courageously, and entirely. When she loved - and she did it easily though not indiscriminately - she loved with total abandon, and total lack of restrictions or conditions.
She did this even though she knew that sooner or later, love would most likely end in pain. Friends would die. People would leave. Pets would pass away.
Even in the small things, she loved with passion, though she knew that restaurants would disappoint, gardens would wilt and dry, books would end, cars would finally be unfixable.
Love would turn to sadness or hurt or disappointment, nearly every time - but my mother loved in the face of all that, and never timidly. Never with a thought to protecting herself, or saving her heart from breaking.
I hope every day to love with at least some of the spirit and the generosity that marked my mother's heart, and to remember her with joy and, always, with gratitude.
A Last Thought
The Peace of Wild Things
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
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