Let Me Tell You About Momma

Momma had small hands. For some reason, I remember that the most. They were soft and pale, but not weak, at least not until near the end. She could use them to soothe a broken heart, or peel and slice a potato at the speed of light. She wore her rings — wedding ring, birthstone ring, and rings that were gifts from her children – even when she was not particular about makeup or shoes. She wanted to be buried with them. She was.

Momma’s eyes were pale blue. Through the years I saw reflected in them laughter, anger, humor, worry and tears. In the end I saw in them my own reflection, as she lay dying, her body weary from fighting, her soul tired of suffering. I’ll always remember the final tear in the corner of her eye. I whispered a private goodbye in her ear. I don’t know if she heard me.When I was small, Momma could shield me from the rain with one broad arm. Momma was always trying to shield me, because she saw the world as a mean, dark place ready to devour her children. This was our only point of contention: to me the world was full of light, adventure, and new things to experience, but she saw it as a threat that might take away her babies. She always sent us off with a kiss and some warnings to watch out for drunk drivers or thunderstorms. I couldn’t resent the apron strings, because I knew they were tied with unshakable selfless love.It was cancer that took Momma from us, not a stranger on the street, a run-away car, or even the unpredictable forces of weather. Maybe Momma was right after all. Bad things do prowl the Earth. Some of these things we have absolutely no defense against.In the end, I couldn’t comfort her, console her, or ease her suffering. I wish I could have taken her pain onto myself and ease hers away. In the face of death we are all helpless. Now all I am able to give my Momma are words. It’s how I choose to honor her. She’s with me still, walking in my footsteps and haunting my memories, and that’s a comfort. And for anyone who has lost a loved one, I would say to them, “Let me tell you about Momma…”

Let Me Tell You About Momma

Lee Parten

Joined January 2008

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Artist's Description

A piece i wrote not long after my mother’s passing from cancer.

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