Phantom Shoes

I can almost see them, the dust settling around them, they seem so big….those shoes that fit her and only her.
I am always struck by how often adoption themes transcend into other groups of people, not adopted.  I find a particular kinship with others who have lost their mothers at an early age.  Their connection to either a visible or visceral memory of this woman is something I can relate to.  Their desire to either affirm or create memories of her to make her real, I too felt that way.  And for some, their sense of being plagued by the empty shoes that walk behind them, besides them…I can feel that too.
Seeking other communities to create common ground though always feels like walking in quicksand.  There remain things that will always be individual to us.  Growing up, I had not identity markers, no one who held memories of this mother lost to keep her alive in my conscious and when I looked in the mirror, I had no idea what I was seeing.
As time lengthens from the last time I saw my Umma, she becomes more and more foggy, becoming less a real person.  I don’t worry or think about her in the same way as I do my other relatives here in the US.  I don’t even think of her as much as I think of my brother.  I suppose it is the older sister/mother that I am used to being that gives me permission to worry about him and wonder when he is going to get another job.  It is easy to think about him.
I have decided to continue sending money to him and I feel good about it.  It is on my “to do” list every few months, my smartphone rings a reminder.  I am happy with the reminder, grateful I can do it and proud that I am committed.  My brother had a birthday this week and I called him to wish him a happy day.  He was working!  Hooray!  And he kept his promise to buy a webcam with the money I sent him last time.  He could have spent that money any way he wished and I would never know.  I am surprised and delighted with his choice.
We are going to try and skype now and hopefully seeing his face, her face, time will stop standing still for me till the next time we are in the same room together.
This week is a milestone for a friend too as she embarks on this journey of taking her relationship with her birthmother another step closer.  Her Umma is here and in her space.  I think of her today as she must have woken up this morning like she was in an alternate universe.  Sending her good wishes and a peaceful visit.

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