Art: Tommy Ingberg
Sergio Cilla is introducing Tales of the Chesapeake, a collection of short stories that will certainly lead to reflection. Today, An Irish Mother, when love totals suffering.
An Irish Mother
It was an unusually warm morning in the end of November 1918, when Anne opened the curtains of her beautiful house in St. Michaels, and saw Aidan walking down the front stoneway. He was wearing his green uniform and looked as radiant as ever.
Anne’s mixed feelings were unmistakable. She wanted to cry out in pain but she was also desperate to hug her younger son, squeezing him tightly for hours. They had been the worst fourteen months of her life, with fears of all sort. She had experienced distress, anxiety and even terror.
Conor and Aidan had enlisted in the army a year before. They wanted to join the war. Conor was twenty and Aidan eighteen at that time.
Anne was sure it had been Aidan’s idea, as he was more intrepid and fearless, always thinking of ways to fight off what he used to call the dark enemies of the world. But she did not say a word to either of them. She just sat down, listened to their arguments, and told them they had all her support and her blessing.
That blessing triggered the most horrendous nightmare a mother can endure, kissing her only boys good-bye, being almost positive or not that they could die during the conflict. Nonetheless, there was not any other possible reaction for her. She had left her home town in Ireland many years before, and she had experienced her parents’ consent and blessing herself.
At this moment, after more than a year without any news whatsoever, only one of them was coming back home.
Aidan took over a minute to walk down the entire stoneway, and Anne figured it all out in her mind, soaked in tears. Conor had definitely protected her little boy so that one of them could come back home, into her arms.
She dried her tears with her sleeves and arranged her hair in front of the mirror. She had to welcome her son home. Despite her immense grief, she was a mother, and she did not want her son to feel any guilt at all. She was there to support him.