Simply by opening my photo album, I stand with you in sun-brightened living room. Sis and I touch either side of you in matching dresses. It must be Easter because we have short sleeves. A lily opens on the coffee table. Your eyes are luminous. I imagine you thinking about hidden baskets, family dinner, your luscious lemon meringue pie.

Another photo of you much later in your favorite rocker. Taking an afternoon nap. I remember sitting there when your smiling eyes blinked open asking you how you managed for thirty years without dad and you said “You just do it.” That day changed me. You were always a woman who made phrases to be repeated.

Another photo of you in black after Dad passed in which something glittered in your swollen wet eyes. Eyes strangely puzzled yet wizened, as if the soul of “It” was shining though.

Mom, what is It? Is It strength, will, determination, passion or prayer?
Did It visit when you waited at front gate, your eyes dancing when we would come home for summer break? Is It when you visited neighbors, take blood pressure for a bit of conversation? Did It pull you into a waltz with Gram every Saturday evening with Lawrence Welk?

I ask you now Mom, under this nighttime sky, wherever you are, (heaven, interstellar, I have no idea) how long do I have to tolerate anxiety tugging me? Live inside bewilderment in this fight of life?

Another photo presents itself, taken just before you died. I hear the dark sweet music of your eyes. I see wide smile and gentle moving of your lips. You sound like the language of an old song. You croon, “Smell the rich essences the full moon conjures up out of the earth.” It almost smacks of witchcraft, Mom! But how, Mom? She whispers, “Be brave and Just do It, Marianne!”