Her Voice in My Ear

My mother was born in a home in Port Arthur, Ontario, 100 years ago today. She died nearly seventeen years ago but had disappeared gradually for several years before that, so she's been gone about twenty years.

Yesterday I stood in line at the bank because there are still some things you have to see a human about. I try not to go when I have a specific appointment after, because I'm more patient if I'm not in a particular hurry, but there are some times when you can't effect that, either.

So standing there trying to ignore the minutes ticking by, I watched a woman of maybe seventy years help her ninety-plus-year-old father with his banking. I wondered how that would feel, to still have parents today, never mind ten or fifteen years from now.

I was my parents' "late in life" baby. I started what I hope is the second half of my life without my mother. With any luck, I'll live longer without Mom's presence on the planet than I did with her here.

It feels strange to call that "luck," but I'm in no hurry to die. There's too much to write about first. Much of what I'm writing is about her and my father. It's about the place my grandfather built north of Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), in what is incorporated as Shuniah, where I now live. My work is about family and roots. I recently received support from the Ontario Arts Council to complete a collection of essays and I'm grateful for it.

There in the bank, I realized I held a magical device in my hand--one with which I could alert my lunch date that I might be late and let her know why. So I did. And wished, for just a moment, for a way to text my mother, to receive a text in return.