Thursday, March 16, 2006

take my mother home

I got an email the other day from a woman I called, "The Godmother" She picked up the nickname for hanging us out to dry if we ever turned in a paper late. We gave her hell, she gave it back to us, and somehow our class became her all time favorite in her 40 years of teaching.

For the years that separate our ages, we have always been inextricably linked. I don't know how, but I know when she's thinking of me. I don't know how, but I know when she's sitting on a stoop just around the corner. I have felt the heaviness of her sorrow when her husband died even though we hadn't seen each other in years.

So this woman, dear and near to my heart, emailed me the other day, asking what I was doing on Good Friday. I told her I wasn't sure, but that we usually go to the Pabasa. why? She had written a play, "Take my mother home" There was a part in it that needed to be read by someone close to her and her husband. That's all she needed to say really. I'd do it for them. It would be my honor.

She sent the script today in the mail. She had said it was the best thing by far she had ever written. She was right. By the time I got to the end I was near tears, not just for the people in the play, but how it brought up the memories of all the mothers I have encountered in my life. I can't imagine what it will be like when all the players are together.

Good Friday during the Catholic Holy week is usually the day in which Catholics do the stations of the cross and follow Jesus along his path from the jail cell to the hillside where he would be crucified. This play is about the women who had to watch Jesus endure this and the women who eventually had to take him down from the cross, but also the mothers in our every day lives that watch us endure the tribulations of life, the teenager's mom, the mother of the man in mid-life crisis, the daughter who must now mother her elderly mother and it's spoken through the voices of their children who wish their mothers didn't have to watch them go through these trials. And yet, the mothers stay despite their children's wishes for them to leave.

What's also powerful about this piece is the context in which it will be done. Good Friday was until now always about Christ's path to his resurrection and that he did it for us. But this piece is about all the people who take the journey with you, both the joy and the sorrow. We are the mothers. The mothers who watch, the mothers who stay, the mothers who take care of your even after you are gone. Isn't that the path from maid to maiden to crone? The full cycle from life to death, ashes to ashes.

1 comment:

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

Oh this sounds wonderful! I wish I could be there to see. Do you think anyone will tape it?

The importance of Witness to life, to death, to rebirth is something that's often forgotten, but one that I saw most clearly in the movie version of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was and still is the women who watch, who sustain, who love so deeply through every step of the journey.

I heard that in Mel Gibson's move of Jesus' last days that Mary is portrayed staring down Satan the whole walk to Golgotha as if to say "Don't you dare mess with Him. Or you'll deal with /me/." I liked that idea, I like that understanding that sometimes we have to stand aside and let people do what they need to do with their lives, but still love them, still protect them, and still take care of them through the pain and sorrow.