Grace Kelly-- that was my mom's celebrity look-alike in her youth. When she passed, my father gave us all a copy of her graduation picture, depicting her likeness to the fallen star. She was beautiful. In so many ways.
The name of my mother's doppelganger has lead me to think of the word "grace". Of all the descriptors in our language, grace is probably the last word I think I embody. I've always thought of graceful people as those are able to balance a book on their head while serving tea. Someone who excelled in ballet and never farts in public. Who always says the right thing. Kind of southern belle like; a vision of perfectness in an imperfect world.
And that's not me. Far from it.
Yet, I know my mother was a graceful woman. Not that she was a southern belle, oh no. She learned to curse in her later years, and she was a rabble-rouser. She wrote incendiary editorial letters about politics, religion and even on one occasion-- pickles. She let my nieces and nephews slide down her stairs in a blanket and eat peanut butter from the jar. And then let the dog lick it off their fingers.
My mother exuded grace by seeing the good in all people and things. By enjoying life in all its little wonders, like sidewalk chalk, ice pops and bubbles. By showing empathy to an overwhelmed, tired new dad by telling him that no one loves babies at 4am.
I remember watching her in conversation. She listened with all her being. She offered her gentle wisdom, but only when people really wanted to hear it. She was absolutely engaged, present in the moment. Perhaps that's why she had no many people who loved her.
I miss her so much. There are times that I wish they could figure out a way to bottle someone's essence. Every once in awhile, I'd open that bottle and let it envelope me. Like a cushy robe and a hot bowl of soup.
My blog is this in a nutshell: an attempt at capturing the essence of my mom through writing. My mother was a writer; what better way to channel her? I don't aspire to be the embodiment of true grace like she was-- those are tall shoes to fill. But I hope to feel closer to her spirit through words.