My Mother sacrificed 24 painful hours of her life the day I was born and many more. She was 100 lbs soaking wet with a little over 5 foot frame. She was a tiny thing. Twenty years old found her married to a strange man for two years and about to have her first child and I am sure she was fearful. True to form I was a rebellious child even in birth, clinging to the walls of my mothers womb I was hesitant to be born, I wonder if my soul & my form which was knit together by God in my mothers womb, had an inclination of what awaited me. A full days labor brought me into the world with the help of some metal forceps and laid me upon my mothers beating heart. I have heard it said that no man comes to life except through the great sacrifice of another and on August 31, 1972 I gained my life partly because of her sacrifice and we will forever share in that miracle.
The announcement read, Judy Lynn Walker gave birth to 5lb 13oz baby girl named Amy Jo Walker. There we were mother and daughter, we would be friends, we would be enemies and we would both be each others caretakers. She would be my first teacher and yet I would never fully understand her or what she intended to teach me. My mother and I were cut from the same cloth, but my how our lives had very different patterns. Her pattern was a compassionate heart break for the world, my pattern was a heart that had to be broken to see the sadness and depravity of the world.
My mother was a singer and piano player and a very talented song writer, she was always looking for her big break looking for some sort of stardom and I always wanted to be the star of her life. She left me a lot to pursue her dreams and left me dreaming and longing for her. I remember gazing at her for what seemed like hours when she would put on her stage makeup, I thought she was pretty beautiful. She was funny and out going, quiet and at times withdrawn, she was one person on stage and a different person at home, she had a lot of anxiety. She loved me, she adored my brothers but she also loved the worlds attention. She needed a man to feel loved, something I couldn’t stand about her, but also ended up needing, and she needed the approval of her dominating mother to feel worthy, she never got that. She, like all of us, longed to be adored. She, like all of us at times felt so unlovely and shameful.
When I was eight years old I came home to find my mother on the floor of our tiny kitchen, cleaning out the pots and pans cabinet with a fierce vigor, I asked what she was doing and she started to cry and then she started to laugh, to tell the truth she didn’t know what she was doing and this was my first inclination that my mom was wounded. My mother was a tiny thing with tiny strength and a big heart and she gave birth to a big girl with a strong will and a tiny heart. At this young age I started surviving by my own strength and determination while my mother followed her heart. I started being the parent I needed and started not needing my mother.
My Mom survived the next 32 years of life trying to be present and good. She was a good nana and she tried to be a good wife and mom and daughter and christian. Many challenges raised themselves up against her in those years and each one etched away a little at her spirit. Then my Mama went missing forever when I turned 40. She walked out mentally on her life, her family and her dreams. Her heart and all the magic she thought it held had left her broken and in pieces. I became one of her caretakers, her legal guardian and her advocate. I started trying to will her mind back to health, I wanted it so bad, she did not. I wanted to be strong for her, “who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14. I hated the choices she was making, I wondered why her family wasn’t enough to keep her present and joyful, I had no idea what she was up against. Her beat up mind started to take its tole on her on my family and on our faith. My mother who was always rooting for the underdog had become one and had no fight left in her. After three long years I relinquished my authority over her life and transferred guardianship to her parents and only saw her again at my sons funeral. She was broken by the tragedy as she was broken by life. I was strong through the tragedy by the grace of God but also by the Grace of God becoming like my mother, more brokenhearted.
The older you get the more you appreciate all that your parents did for you no matter how dysfunctional they were. You forgive their weaknesses as you see your own. They become human to you. You commiserate with them and the truth of this sets you free to truly love them. This Divine Wisdom becomes more precious to you than strength or knowledge or the joy of proving right.
I miss my mom now and especially on Mothers Day and I always have hope that she will return some day to me healthy and strong. I wish I could tell her how much I have learned through my own heartbreak, how being broken has given me an intense compassion for people and how I see that I am most her daughter when I am compassionate. I pray that one day I will tell her what I know now, it takes the meek the merciful and the mighty to walk this journey towards heaven. Mostly I hope to wrap her tiny person up in my big embrace and say I love you mom.