Birthday Memories

Memories are trailing through my head like ribbons of silver. Today is my mother’s birthday. Our parents, like snow, cover us with a protective layer of beauty, but unlike snow, do not return to our lives once they are gone. Loss is inevitable. Memories, however, refuse to melt away.


Born between the Great Wars of Europe into a life of privilege, she witnessed terrors of World War II, endured bombings, the loss of her fiancé as well as all the trappings of her upbringing. She was forced to scavenge for food in the countryside for herself and her family, risk her safety to hide a wounded partisan from the Germans (who would later become her husband and my father) then attempt to build a new life while suffering the oppression of Communism.


My memories of her are like a kind of silky pollen that clings to the fingertips and brings back what was once pleasurable. I recall her going swimming each morning at the public pool prior to starting her workday. I remember her laughter and her smile, twin lights that would brighten the darkest room. I noticed the way both men and women would turn their heads to look at her, struck by her beauty and simple elegance. I can’t avoid remembering her insistence on honesty and kindness towards others, nor her intolerance of pettiness and injustice. And I will never forget the love that poured from her towards me and the other members of her family, nor her ultimate sacrifice in giving me up and sending me away from Communist rule, never knowing at the time if she would see me again.


There is an emptiness on the planet she once occupied with a leader’s grace and a pilgrim’s sense of wonder. When she spoke, you listened. When she walked, you followed. Her life was laced with acts of kindness. I’m more of humanist than deist, but she taught me that we’re all going for the same thing, more or less. Peace, a nice dinner with someone you love, and strength enough to make it to the horizon.


Sometimes you cry even when the person you love has been gone a long time. It’s been nine years, mom. I miss you every day. I regret you never had the chance to see your grandson’s happiness in the city your sister so dearly loved, Paris. I’m consoled only by the knowledge that you have slipped the surly bonds of earth and are dancing the skies on laughter-silvered wings.


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23 Responses to Birthday Memories

  1. Joe says:

    Hi J,
    Very moving thoughts/feelings about your Mother.  Thanks for sharing.  I lost mine to breast cancer when I was 8 yrs old.  I had my 50th birthday on Friday.  Your blog brought back some very old (but still strong) feelings.  For an 8 year old boy, your mother is the Rock of Gibraltar.  The one person you can depend on.  You can come running to mom when the rest of the world seemed to turn against you… and she was there to give you comfort & protection.  Suddenly, Death stepped forward & took away my safety net.  Death plays no favorites,
    and is the ultimate destiny for all of us.  I wish I could comfort you & say you would be over it in forty years, but that would be a lie.  Thoughts of my Mother still make my eyes water to this very day.  I feel you are the type that will always cherish those thoughts & feelings when you reflect back on your Mother.  The tears make us stronger, not weaker.
    Best Wishes,

  2. Deborah says:

    My mother was Mom, until I became one. Then she became Nanny (or Nana) and then she was gone and I\’ve gained the name she once held. I only hope that I have also gained the wisdom and fortitude that the name signified for me and my children.
    Your poignant musings bring pleasant and also sad memories to the surface.
    Gone but not forgotten ……..Mom

  3. Q says:

    This was beautiful.  I\’ve read it several times now… just beautiful…

  4. Cheryl says:

    Great post….Beautiful.  It is nice that you have such vivid recall of her.  You must have been older when she sent you to live in freedom…  I do believe she is in a better place….

  5. Suzalita says:

    What a lovely tribute to your mom – your words are heartfelt and beautiful.  Your mom sounds like an incredible woman.

  6. PJ says:

    Good Afternoon Jorge,
    This is sincerely the most beautiful tribute to anyone I have ever read. Oh my goodness. I read it three times…I especially am fond of this line….
    My memories of her are like a kind of silky pollen that clings to the fingertips and brings back what was once pleasurable.
    What a wonderful Son, Father, Human Being.
    Until next time..Keep smiling.

  7. the1stephzen says:

    Thank you… very beautifully expressed….and beautiful emotions…

  8. Stephen Craig says:

    Yeah, Indeed,  We reach the space between the words and touch the sky.  Those that are seemingly gone are in our blood, bones, thoughts and ever about in the All.   I think that you understand.  That which has been, shall ever be for it is part of the all that is eternal.   There I go again!  I call my Mother every Sunday and Dad is hanging in there.   As ever be well.   Stephen

  9. Holy says:

    wow what a story her life seems to have told.  And what an imprint on your own.  And what a tribute.  I\’m glad she has a poet and storyteller son to pass on the legacy of her courage and her humanitarian convictions.
    When you talk about the silver ribbon, I would venture to say that it is those qualities that pass from generation to generation.  Your children, are no doubt, instilled with those same values, just as their\’s will be and so on and so on.  And so the silver ribbon passes through time, such that she is never really gone nor forgotten.  A piece of her always lives on in the lives, truths and purposes of those who come after.
    That\’s the place where human grace and beauty abounds.  

  10. Lakota Clay says:

    What a beautiful tribute of love.  Thank you, Jorge.  L.

  11. Deborah says:

    Wonderful tribute.  Reminded me that it has been thirteen years since my Mama passed, and I miss her still.  I wonder if my children will honor me that way someday.  It\’s not like I\’ll live to see it, but I like thinking that they will miss me as much.
    Blessed be

  12. Marie says:

    How wonderful to read a son\’s beautiful tribute to a loving mother.
    Hugs, Marie

  13. Brian says:

    I lost mine nine years ago as well, at about this timeof year.  Her story was much like that of your mother, a life of privilege lost but real privilege regained by dint of force of will, work, faith and humour.  You\’re never old enough to be without your Mum.  She sent you away so her grandson could have Paris.  That\’s what mothers do.  And having Paris, and sharing it, is how we honour that.

  14. linda says:

    Linda Original Hippie__/__\\__((^;^))       —–> YOU ARE INVITED TO MY "HALLOWEEN MASK BALL"                   ITS A PARTY.   CONTEST:  MAKE A MASK  ANY WAY AND NAME IT…. LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU ARE DONE  AND i WILL DOWNLOAD IT TO MY SPACE……..ALL ENTRIES DUE BY OCTOBER 30TH.   ON OCTOBER 31TH                EVERYONE WILL VOTE FOR THEIR FAVORITE MASK WITH A NAME………………..THE PRIZE :  A MYSTICAL READING BY THE MAGICAL GYPSY, YOUR PAST …YOUR PRESENT … AND YOUR MYSTERIOUS FUTURE.(girls just wanna have fun…. any good halloween jokes, pictures and fun stuff come on by and add to the fun)                              THIS IS YOUR GOLDEN TICKET FOR A GOOD HALLOWEEN ON CYBERNET PARTYYYYYYY)))(((.))-V-((./.|…..|.\\\\_|_)||(_|_//o(oo(o\\/\’=====\’\\/_(_____)_\\…..(()())(().dviv
        Happy Halloween10/2/2006 8:29:56 AM

  15. Gracia says:

    This is so very very beautiful, my friend.
    Peace to you.
    Gracia xo

  16. Marie says:

    I came by to read the other entries I missed and to re-read this one and of course, to say Hello!
    Hugs, Marie

  17. Deirdre says:

    Jorge, I just dropped by to say hello, but this entry really got to me.  I was reminded of my mother\’s birthday last week, and it occured to me how much I do miss her.  As time passes since her death in 2005, I am striving to remember the good in what she left behind.  Thank you for helping me remember my mother, as you so eloquently wrote or yours.

  18. Fenix says:

    Hello Jorge:
    It\’s beautiful. Your post  brings me memories of my mother…
    ¿How are you? I hope your are cool. Thank you for your visit and comments.

  19. Gayle says:

    My hope is that my child shall someday (in the far, far distant, far, far, far distant future) share these sentiments.Your kindness is never overlooked.  You are one of those folk that I wish I could lay my hands and eyes upon.  Thank you for your comments.Gayle

  20. Nicole says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Jorge.
    I have written similar notes to my mom on my blog on her birthday (March 26) and on the 5 year anniversary of her death (sept 29).  I understand how it doesn\’t get any easier with time…
    I miss my mom so much, too.
    take care,

  21. Gelati Farms says:

    Hmmmm…yes…beautiful.  As a mother to young children, it makes me very sad to think of them missing me.  I suspect your mother is smiling and wishing to wrap you up in a hug because you have looked back on her life and recognized her passions, her lessons to you and the unending love she had for her family.  Now, as a parent yourself Jorge, tell me…is that not a gift of the best sort?
    I am so sorry that you are missing her, and so happy that you had such a gift of a woman to nurture you.

  22. RICHARD says:

    Jorge, that was awesome.  I know that she is looking down now and feeling real good for how her son has turned out.
    Toronto Canada

  23. Edith says:

    Thank you so much for visiting my space… your comment was sweet and appreciated.  I love what you\’ve written here about your mom.  I am sorry for your loss, but glad that you have such incredibly loving memories of her.  It\’s so comforting to be able to re-live lovely moments we\’ve had with those who have left their special uniqueness with us, in our hearts.

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