Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Darkest Before Dawn

You know, as I am writing this I just thought to myself, how appropriate the title is, my mother's name was Dawn. I hadn't intended to write about my mother but since I am here I think I shall.

I wasn't born from my mother, my birth mother died in a fatal car accident when I was 5 months old. She was on her way to pick me up from my grandmother's home. I always seem to feel this echo of pain when I think of her. I mean I never really knew her, and don't even know much about her. I have heard all the family myths* about her and I choose to believe everyone of them. My first real memory is of my mother, Dawn. I was only two years old and I was taking a bath. Not so many years ago I shared this memory with my mother and she told me then, that was the very first time we had actually met. She was surprised I remembered this moment so clearly. I told her I remembered looking up from the tub where I was playing and I remembered calling her 'Mommy'. The adults who were there, my grandmother and aunts, were quite shocked at my declaration. But I knew her, I knew who she was. Before her, I knew my heart must have been waiting for her to come. Someone once told me that Carmen, my first mother, had picked her out for me from the other side. She knew she would care for her daughter. I choose to believe this too.

I cannot imagine what my life would have been without her. I know I would not be the woman I am now. I know not how dark my life was prior to her entering it, but I know how it is without her here. She brought light and love to my life. She raised me as her own, I did not even know she did not birth me until I was almost 10 years old. She is the only mother I have ever known.

I have been thinking alot about dear Moshe Holtzberg, who's parents were murdered last week in Mumbai, India. I think about how he clings desperately to his beloved Nanny. My heart breaks for him. My prayer is that someone will rise up and love him as a mother. This is no easy task, to give of yourself in this way, but I know it is possible. I know that all of Chabad will care for him, and that he has his grandparents and extended family to help nurture him, but beyond that this precious one needs a mother. I pray she finds him.

Even in the light of day, the world can seem like a very dark place. "It is always darkest before the dawn." These are supposed to be words of encouragement to get us through the troubling and frightening times. The days are growing shorter and colder, and the nights longer and darker. We are soon coming to the time when there will very little daylight and very long nights. In the midst of that darkness we will light a lone candle on a lamp stand. As each day gets darker we anticipate the menorah and it's lit branches. We anticipate the light. We wait for the joy that comes with dawn.

In one of my mother's craft containers I found several boxes of Chanukah's candles, candles that she bought for the menorah I gave her as a gift many years ago. This year I will be the one lighting the menorah and I will probably cry each time I do. I miss my beloved mother, both of them. I will think of the light of life and love they both gave me. I will feel the darkness of the empty place that has been left in my life. As each candle is added, and the light of the menorah and each day grows brighter I will look to the dawn and I will hope. I will have hope for my life and the lives of my beloved children. I will have hope for the life of dear Moshele.

I will also have hope that all people and the world we live in will someday live in peace. I will hope for the day when we 'beat our swords into ploughshares' and love will truly be all we need. I will have the hope that a single candle will indeed banish the darkness and all of us, every man, woman and child will walk in the joy and freedom of the Light.

* I use the term myth with no disrespect intended at all to my mother who gave me life. The way I am using this word is in the context of 'sacred story telling and memories'. Whether they are absolute truth or idealized interpretations of my mother matters not to me. She enabled me to come to earth. She nursed me and dearly loved me. Of this I am sure. She lost her life, perhaps, even because of her love for me. I choose to believe every sacred story I have ever heard about her, for I have no real memory, only the echoes of her love and my echo of loss.

1 comment:

chany28 said...

Hi Philly,

Your story is beautiful and touching. Keep the good work up.

Chany ( carine silberstein)