I’m on a train going somewhere, and I turn around and I meet my mother on the same train…..
I meet my mother on a train going somewhere…..
It was amazing to meet her…to see her…..so long after her 1999 summertime death….
That is all I remember about this deep dream…..
The story I like to tell about this pivotal event in my mother’s life (any story to keep the earth from actually shattering) is that she died at 10:45 of a summer evening in a Chicago hospital…I was by her side…..as were a cousin or two….and when I got back to the hotel much later, the message light on the room phone was blinking….in our family, you finished a trip or journey safely, and you called when you got home….when I dialed the desk, he said there were no messages…he’d turn off the light….but the light kept blinking all through the night…pretty sure it was momma. She wouldn’t just run off like that with out reassuring me she was ok….it was her. Momma as electricity.
I want to write about my mother.
(Talk about source material…..)
I need to write about her. I need to recall her. Capture her. Analyze her, know her, hold her…..finally hold her in my arms. As Arthur Miler has “Holga” say in his play AFTER THE FALL: “One must finally take one’s life in one’s arms.”
If I could know her better, I will know myself.
I’ve spent my decades in a profession that required I know and portray myself as other people, all the while demanding that I show up with as much of myself as I could bring to the game. Theater and acting, if you choose it as a lifelong profession, and I chose it, they demand all. But then again, they also offer all…..theater will take as much of yourself as you are willing to give…willing to give up.
Now at age 74, I now want to know of myself. And I realized that in doing that search, I must start with the woman who started me: My mother. Sarah Lee Meyer Baron….Sally…… I spent so much of my life running away from the needy, delightful and strong yet fearful person that she was…creative, but hidden…..needy,voracious even, but determined to keep up the front of strength….close to me as she could get, yet I don’t remember her as a hugging person…….there were times when I couldn’t figure out where she began and I ended, or vice versa. And I have now practically forgotten all about her….
And I stayed away -from as many family dinners, celebrations, graduations bar mitzvahs, and other signal events, by using rehearsals and performances in shows miles away to justify my absence in the family.
I came from her body, and we lived in a life deeply connected to each other, no matter how many miles lay between us, …symbiotic? Yes deeply……..and I wrote about her in my journals a great deal, but since her death in 1999, I realize how little I actually knew her. The woman as a woman, not as my mother….Or if I did know her, I was so scared of what I knew, I shut her out. The way she shut me out when she would go off to work every day and leave me alone without her, leaving me sobbing in the arms of my beloved housekeeper Lillie Pearl….…..i am in my 70’s and I am just now angry at her for her neglect. And for her clinging. We were close and yet so far apart,..and yet we were also one. She clings to me like cellophane. Still. And days go by when I forget I ever had a mother. Sally who?
By Laura Fanning
On September 5, 2022
This is beautiful. Maybe you needed to wait until now to ‘see’ her but oh, what a vivid portrtait.