Down to My Bones

I visited my long deceased mother a couple of days ago through an article I read in the Los Angeles Times. It was about a Korean Spa in L.A. where in a uniquely 24-hour spa experience families get together in what looks like a reunion picnic, or summer camp. Some families even spend the night. But on the floors where the men and women part company, there is only one rule: you must get naked.  And here’s where I got snagged into connecting with my mother. It was the closing paragraph as described by the author: “I retreated to the darkened room on the women’s floor, passing robed bodies lying end to end, and a mother with her limbs entangled with her daughter’s, all sound asleep.”

small_2250395225That image of the mother and daughter, naked with their legs entwined set up a deep visceral longing within me, a palpable desire to have had that kind of loving intimate relationship with my mother, a relationship I never had, never wanted growing up, not consciously anyway, because I just didn’t trust her. She made me feel all wrong. Sure, I was headstrong, cheeky, and not a boy like she’d wanted, but why couldn’t we connect, cleave together in our femaleness in the African male-dominated society in which we lived? A society she railed against. Did it all boil down to courage and her own disconnect with self; did she just not know how to go to the next step, how to relate to me, a living piece of herself? I’ll never know. We never had a chance to work it out, what with me emigrating to America at 22, and her in Africa and then her death three months before I turned thirty-six. But in my own way through much introspection, I’ve forgiven myself and her for what we didn’t know how to do. This article struck a deeper level of my long path to heal; this time I felt it down to my bones.  (photo above courtesy of Alicepopkorn)

This is my first Trifecta writing challenge–33-333 words on the word of the week (mine is 332). This week the word is “heal” in the context of restoring purity or integrity.

18 thoughts on “Down to My Bones

  1. Very provoking & almost too close to the bone for me. Thanks for sharing that – had no idea! We were so gauche in those days & saw everyone else as OK- little realizing what they endured as well.

  2. Admire the courage to acknowledge, feel and speak the truth as you know it today. Funny how it will morp into a larger context in the days, years and pages to come.
    Blessed holiday

  3. I enjoyed thinking of my own daughter when reading this, as opposed to my mother. Hope for the future rather than regrets for the past. The image of mother and daughter here is lovely.

    1. I wonder how the emotional equation would’ve changed if I’d had a daughter instead of two sons. Luckily, I’ve always had a great relationship with women and feel this kind of intimacy with them.

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