I think I am prouder of this piece of work than anything I have written. It’s an essay that I’ve posted here a couple of times and then revised, recorded, and submitted to the local NPR affiliate, WUWM, for broadcast on its Lake Effect program. The essay and the audio link are here.
It took several tries to record it – several stops and starts, getting words wrong, getting choked up. Then the producer said I read it too fast, that it was too serious a topic to rush, and so I recorded it again, all of this sitting at my desk with the windows and door shut in the summer’s heat, the fan turned off, and sweat mixing with tears unexpected after an essay that I’d read so often.
I guess recording and rerecording the essay got to me because the piece revealed to me the fundamental truth about my mother, how her depression colored everything about her life – her physical appearance, her day to day existence, and, ultimately, her extraordinary and unfailing gentleness. And I realized, too, that she did what she could to get by, to be my mother, and to stay with us even when it had to have been so hard.
The lessons just keep unfolding. Bless the pen for being within reach.