I got in yesterday from a day of exploring Raleigh, NC, eating one of the greatest burgers of my life, and talking to a brilliant mind, and reminded myself to hop on youtube to check out Maya Angelou’s “Love Liberates”
I brag about my mother often when people nervously inquire about the way my life is setup. I tell talk to them about how she trusted me enough, and believed enough in her own abilities and skills as a parent to allow me to walk out of her door, and go into a world I knew little about. She knew I’d survive if I applied everything I thought I knew and everything she taught me. She loved me enough to throw me to the wolves, and when I could afford it, I’d come home for Thanksgiving with coats made of those wolves’ fur. I was liberated, and with that freedom came a reminder that I could always return home if I needed a place to sleep, shower, and something to eat.
I remembered another liberation halfway through Maya’s story. My grandmother, Irene E. Jones, who once liberated me, and poor, broke me was able to pay her back.
When she liberated me:
My grandmother and I shared more than coffee, card games and words over afternoon stories on CBS. We talked about the trouble I caused and the girls I loved while I threaded her needles, and poured her ginger ale. School called, and I was being pulled away from her couch, fried egg sandwiches and bacon, and corned beef hash. She knew I had to go, but would come back with better stories than Victor Newman. My grandmother’s house was my last stop, my last goodbye, and I cried in the backseat of the car as my folks pulled out toward Florida. I needed her to tell me I would be alright.
When I liberated her:
Time and miles made pieces of our stories weaker, and I had long given up coffee, pitty pat, and knew nothing more about soap operas. We exchanged fewer words because neither of us were phone people. We talked about death when she was healthier, and how life shouldn’t be, so when she was in the nursing home, my heart and eyes broke. I caught the first plane I could and headed to Virginia. Each day, I’d wait until no one was there, and I’d sit in the room, next to my grandmother’s bed, telling her what I’d learned, who I’d seen, and those I loved. One day, things were different. It was time to go. “Can I play you something,” I asked, finding “Fix You” by Cold Play in my phone. And I played it, and made an honest attempt at singing. And before the song ended, I told her, “If you want to go, you should. There’s no sense in waiting around her. For what? Who?” And I left, went to my dad’s sat in the couch and waited for the phone to ring. And it did. She was liberated.
Love liberates. Thanks, Paul.