mothers and daughters


yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my mother's death.

at moments like these, it is apparent that time is only time; it does not comfort, heal, push you forward. grieving is real work and time does not, of itself, heal all wounds.

in spite of this, time is precious because you never get it back. and as my mother neared the end, i saw that the time she spent with her loved ones, the love she gave, was all she had to measure her life.

it made me want to be more open and honest and loving with the people who were in my life at that time, though grief often made that a difficult proposition. and in the years since she died, i have come to understand how much more difficult, though not impossible, it is to get to know someone better who is no longer living.

the other day someone asked me why i was doing elizabeth's daughter and i had a bit of trouble answering. i started off by saying, 'i wanted to get to know my mother better,' then got around to mentioning how i'd always wanted to write her story--spurred by my father's memoirs, in which my mother is not a central character. in fact, i would go so far as to say that my mother, sisters and i were presented as an obstacle to a singular man's quest to establish himself as a united states immigrant.

i wondered about this for years. thought perhaps it was a failing of language, the journalistic way in which my father writes about his life that doesn't probe the deeper emotions that might certainly show that he saw us all as a unit and not himself versus us.  but i thought my mother should have her say about the matter well before she died. her death has only made the prospect of writing about her life doubly challenging, both for practical and emotional reasons.

all my creative work now seems to revolve around mothers and daughters.  i understand that i may remain preoccupied with this topic my entire life simply as a means of coping with the reality that my mother is dead.  she visits me a lot now, mostly in dreams. if she were alive i think she'd be proud of me. i'm tough and soft like she was, caring, loving, spiritual, disciplined.

and i think we would be less like mother and daughter now and more like friends. --AL.

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  1. Let me start by saying that your writing is beautiful and profound.

    May God grant you the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss of your mum.

    Keep writing. And i look forward to cradling my own copy of Elizabeth's Daughter when it's published.

  2. This is a lovely post. It makes me realize that while living with my parents as a 30-year-old is difficult, it is also a unique opportunity to get to know their stories while they are still here.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Iquo,
    You are indeed tough and (or should I say -though-)soft!
    I hope you are able to finish this project soon. Hope that the grief you still seem to feel doesnt deter or hinder you in your quest to know her better.
    your writing is so real, keep at it!
    Iquo D.Eke


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