Three Mothers & One More

Filomena de Irureta Goyena Hayward

Today, mother’s day it is impossible for me not to look back and reflect on my relationship with my mother. Of her I have written quite a few times here.

And yet one can never finish one’s thoughts particularly when new ones crop up from the most unexpected quarters.

Yesterday the Roman actress (I am old fashioned) Silvia Gallerano came over for one fling at my camera. We successfully took a few photographs that pleased the both of us.

Taking her back to get ready for her last show La Merda at the Cultch we talked in the car. I mentioned how so many of my contemporaries and friends had been dying. It is here where she said, “I worry about my mother who is 76. Most of her friends are dead. She is alone.” Gallerano then looked at me and added, “I am sorry, but we should not be talking about this.”

I would strongly disagree. We must talk about this and find corrections. For one even though Gallerano says it is difficult to make new friends of one’s age it can be quite exciting to find friends who are younger. I call this the Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. factor.

Some years ago when my 19 year-old granddaughter Rebecca and I were in a car in Austin with Brother Edwin (my former theology teacher, music teacher and just about everything else from my teenage youth at the Catholic boarding school St. Edwards’s) she asked him why it was that he and I were friends. Brother Edwin said that when I had been 16 he had been 26 (even though we in school thought him to be an old man, after all he had two MAs, one in mathematics and the other in music), the quotient of 16/26 was in decimals was 0.61. By the time he was 78 and I was 68 that quotient 0.87. It was then that he said something that Rebecca instantly understood. “As we both get older that difference approaches 1.”

Rosemary Waterhouse-Hayward, Hilary in arms and Alexandra

It has struck me only lately, that if I understand that Brother Edwin “factor”, I can forget and ignore age difference.

In the case of Brother Edwin our friendship lasted because we both worked at it in spite of geographical distances. Best of all my Rebecca will never forget and she will apply the experience to making and keeping friends.

My mother died when she was 61 in 1972. Before that she told me stuff that I believe few mothers would tell their sons.

“I am not quite old. I am 59 but I feel a terrible loneliness. I have not had sex with a man for many years.”

“I am so sick (Meniere’s Disease) that I have lost my faith not in God but in a God that listens and intercedes. I have lost my belief in the power of prayer.”

While I can remember all those rosy times when my mother did smile and seem to enjoy life I now feel that I may have been powerless to make a difference.

Hilary Stewarta, Rebecca and Lauren

To compensate I have transferred my almost too late appreciation for what my mother did for me by doing the best I can (with Rosemary’s help) to keep our Hilary (who is the mother of two) as happy as we can.

I like to have her for dinner and to cook for her. I like to watch her with my mother’s crooked smile on her face. I like to watch old-fashioned movies with her that would have pleased my mother and that Hilary adores, too.

Our Hilary is a good mother. She inherited from my Rosemary and my mother. So today I wish them both a happy day while I look back at my own mother and Brother Edwin showing me the way to

making and keeping friends.

And as I left Silvia Gallerano I reflected that her two children already show the upbringing of their mother and father. And perhaps, too I may have some new friends.

Link to: Three Mothers & One More

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