I sit in front of the mirror, applying age defying makeup,
covering my Mother's laugh and worry lines.
I see parts of her in me, the way I remembered her.
She had a beautiful, crooked smile, dark hair, and alabaster skin.
Her blue eyes and cheekbones reflect mine in the mirror.
Although, I am not as beautiful as she was.
But, in remembering, guilt and shame raises its ugly head.
I remember how self-centered I was,
And how I treated her when she would call me from her tiny apartment 450 miles away.
She was desperately lonely and wanted to talk to her eldest daughter.
She wanted to know how my life was going, if all was well, how the grandchildren were.
I would answer with small, vague words.
Then, I half listened to her telling me about what had been happening in her life.
The phone on my shoulder, my hands busy making lunch, dressing the baby, or doing the dishes.
I would lower the volume on the TV, but still watch it while she spoke.
I only noticed when there was a sudden silence on the other end.
"You’re not listening to me, are you.”
This I hear loud and clear.
"Well of course I am Mom."
She calls me on it. "Ok, what did I just tell you?"
"Uuhm." is all I can say. I am embarrassed and put out a small chuckle.
"I’m sorry Mom, I'm just a little distracted at the moment."
I can hear the disappointment in her voice.
"Ok, I'll let you go. Maybe I'll call you later....or you could call me?" she asks hopefully.
"I love you Mom, I'll call you later."
"I love you too honey, I'll talk to you later, goodbye."
Her voiced has lost its strength.
Tears well up and smudge my freshly applied mascara.
I had taken my sweet time calling her back.
My sister calls two weeks later to tell me Mom is in the hospital.
Her Emphysema had taken its toll.
My Mother has been with God fifteen years now.
I had avoided the love she tried to pour out to me,
The love I had taken for granted during my adult life.
I step away from the mirror and pick up my phone.
I call one of my sons.
“Hi Mom, I gotta call you back. Someone just came to the door.”
I call my other son.
“Leave a message…beep!”
“Hey sweetie, I just called to see what you’re up to. I haven’t heard from you in a while.
You know my number, call me when you can, ok?”
I call my third son.
His mailbox is full and I cannot leave a message.
I call my fourth son.
His phone has been disconnected.
I e-mail and Facebook all four of my sons.
I picture my Mom nodding her head with a sad little smile.
I make excuses, as a Mother will.
“But they are all very busy with their lives”…… I begin.
Then I glance in the mirror once more…..hello karma.
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