I am sitting in her chair. The yellow and orange stained glass window that Wayne Cain made as Dad’s 40th anniversary present to Mom beginning to catch the light behind me. I have my pen and paper here in this laptop. Books sit beside me. I feel comfortable, and in this way, too, I am my mother.
On a visit, I almost always woke to find her in this chair, a book and a journal in her lap. Sometimes she was praying, and I snuck back into the guest room; most of the time I was not successful in my stealth. (She seemed to always know when someone was nearby; this, perhaps, is part of what made her so loving.) When she saw me, she closed her book and rotated her chair toward me. I grabbed my cup of coffee and tucked my feet under my legs on the couch. She picked her coffee up off the hexagonal table that separated her arm chair from Dad’s, and we talked.
She told me about what she had been reading, what had been going on at church, what she had been thinking about. I told her about troubles at work, about relationships, about my cats. Sometimes her cat Betty climbed up her torso to purr away on her chest. We could spend hours this way. We did spend hours this way.
Now, as I sit here in her space, I miss her words. I miss the way she could make me laugh. I miss her laugh that rocked her in this chair so hard that her feet lifted off the ground. I miss her.
In this chair, I realize it leans distinctly to the right, toward the identical chair that my dad always sits in. It leans the way her life did – toward people – to whom she would always reach and for whom she would always put down a book and pick up a cup of coffee. This is a big chair to fill.