She was beautiful

Mama died November 17, 2003. She was 74-years-old. That’s her in the photo, the third one from the left.

A long lost cousin directed me to this photo. Mama was probably 21 or 22 when it was taken. It’s a funny feeling seeing her as a young woman. She was 38 when I was born. I’m 45 now. Seeing history is different than reading about it. Seeing it makes it real.

This photo, and a few others I recently have come across, have given me a new perspective about my mom as a person, about her life, who she was, and what she became. I never knew she was beautiful. Isn’t that a terrible, pathetic thing to say? But I honestly never knew. I never saw her as physically attractive. She never cared about looking pretty. All she ever did was work. Love her children and work.

But as I see her here, in this new way, she is strikingly beautiful, and I’m blown away. Mama was always very, how should I say, well-kept. She was very neat and cared a lot about...well, neatness. But I never knew her to wear makeup. Look at her lips. I have never before seen my mother wearing lipstick - at least until now.

I want to know this woman. I want to hear her story. Did she feel pretty? Where did she get that dress? How did you fall in love with Daddy? What was it that made you marry him? What went so wrong that you ended up so detached from him? I mean before the affair. What happened? Did you ever love him?

But it’s too late to get these answers now. I only wish I had known her better when there was still time to ask.