My heart is heavy, like a great lump of clay at my very centre, being pressed and squeezed, beyond my control.

He’s constantly on my mind, my firstborn, and yet I know that already I’ve lost him. He was never really mine to keep: every mother’s joy and sorrow. I fed him and clothed him, looked after him, loved him more than anything I’ve ever loved in my life, and now I must let him go.

I sometimes watched him work at the lathe, sweaty, barefoot, covered in sawdust and for a moment I would allow myself to hope that he would stay. He has such an affinity with wood. His hands caress it with the sure knowledge of one who understands the grain, who can make something beautiful. He embraces it as he embraces everything, with his whole being.

Who is he, this son of mine? He’s a stranger in his own town and yet he’s everybody’s friend. He’s wise beyond his years, and yet he’s reckless, always taking risks, always questioning authority. He stands up for the outcast and the downtrodden, he’s not in the least proud, and yet he assumes authority wherever he goes. Above all, he knows who he is, what he was born to do.

My son. I can only watch him on this path he must take and know that it’s right, keep my distance because my role is all but over. And it squeezes my heart because I can’t protect him. Can’t help him. I can only stand and watch while he gives everything for people who don’t understand the price.

7 thoughts on “Mary

  1. The resonance of this piece is heartbreaking. Despite not being a mother I felt – really felt – the desperate ache. Thank you for this, Di. It’s courageous and beautiful and made my scalp tingle.

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