Shifting Roles: Ceding Mother Bear

For My Daughters Meg and Nia


Little Bear put his arms around his mother. He said:
“Mother Bear, stop fooling. You are my Mother Bear.
And I am your Little Bear, and we are on Earth. And you know it.
Now may I eat my lunch?”
“Yes”, said Mother Bear, “And then you will have your nap.
For you are my little bear. And I know it.”

The thing about being a 70s generation Mom during this crisis is up til now I have always believed we can face anything. That love prevails. That I will do what it takes to protect my daughters. I will show them what it takes. That it takes wits and tenacity and hard work. And spiritual strength.

I’ll show them how to use art, and humor, and engage imagination.

“It is our universe afterall,” I tell myself. “The sky’s the limit”.

Then came divorce, and things were okay for awhile. And then came 9/11, and social media trolling, and more and more hate speech, and Mathew Shephard’s murder, and the invasion of Afganistan and then Iraq, and their peers came home maimed in battle. And exploding student debt, and The Recession and The Occupy Movement. And then activer shooters, and more active shooters. And the Climate Change reality. And then, MeToo!

And then: a whack-job president comes to reign, willing to strip away all that work we did. He and his cronies. A personality so extreme, your woke friends postulate he’ll burn out his followers, and soon leave the White House in a straight jacket.

So you march and vote-in a bunch of women. And there’s Elizabeth Warren!! And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!!

And so the primaries begin. And you think: Now you’ll get your country back.

And your grandkids will play be able to play anytime at a well-sanded beach, and watch the moonrise with you. And you will sing.

But then fucking cancer takes your sister. And time stands still.

And now you say to your daughters: “I can’t protect you from this sorrow, I can’t stop this. But I can be with you as we say goodbye”.

And you pledge: we can tell her children’s children what a beautiful, amazing grandmother they had, and how they look and sound like her. How much they made her world. And oh, how she loved you!

And then you say to your daughters and her children, now we get a respite.
The long winter at last is waning.

And then the plague came. And you fear you can no longer wash your hands of any of it.

But still you promise, across the room from where your daughter stands the requisite three-feet from you, lingering by the kitchen screen door.
(Her sweet little boy left at home during this awkward food exchange, you being over 60 and all).

“No matter what, I am here for you and Meg. I will do whatever it takes to be there. You need me? I will come! Germs be damned!”

And you believe it. This is no grandiose martyr play. This is what love means.

But the truth is, no matter where this surreal crisis takes us, deep down you know, they don’t need you to protect them anymore. They no longer have to wonder what fuels this Mother Bear...They know it in their bones. They have it themselves.



In loving memory of the true Mother Bear, Elizabeth Ann O’Reilly Amandes. On this earth October 3, 1955 to January 17, 2020.
Forever in our hearts.

Read Beth Ann’s Obituary online here: https://www.drechslerbrownwilliams.com/obituaries/Elizabeth–Ann-Beth-Ann-OReilly-Amandes?obId=10598118#/obituaryInfo

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