Daughters in law

When she comes to you, and sits, telling you her hardest thing.

She is neither your daughter nor your sister, she sits somewhere between, her blood entwining with yours through your grand-babies.

I look to her, sitting there, remembering that first time she entered my heart. We had just arrived back to our mother’s home a year after her passing. For the first time. All five of us siblings, and Dad. We sat there after turning of the engine, staring at the house, silence swamping the car, dreading to enter the silence that was yet to greet us. The emptied rooms.

But, she had gotten there before us, my soon to be daughter in law. She opened the front door as we emerged from the car shouldering our Dad and each other. She stood there, sunshine in her hair, wearing Mom’s apron. Our family favourite, Hank Williams, yodelling through open windows. The smell of cinnamon – she had made Mom’s buns. The kitchen all messy and sweet smelling of molasses and shouldering us through rooms again filling with spirit.

Now she sits here, telling me her hardest thing. Wrapped in the thick warmth of our bathrobes, she shoulders me as I shoulder her. And it comes to me, the word. Not daughter. Not sister. But Matriarch. We are Matriarchs together. Different households, yet we sail beneath the one flag. We still the rough waters and bail out leaky ships and strengthen our bulwarks for when the flood comes again. And again.

This evening we sit shoulder to shoulder, another flood coming. But our walls are strong, we trust the Dove’s returns with its twig of hope and promise of another safe passage. Honoured to be aboard, Captain Charlene Morrissey.

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