A Mother's Son Author: J.E. de Sousa Description A profound and moving account of one man's struggle to find out who he is - and who he was - when he hears of the death of his mother. Excerpt Sometimes it seems to me that the older I get, the more I forget - and the more I remember. This never felt so true as when I found myself standing on the edge of life at the then-age of forty-one, staring into the porcelain features of the woman I call mother as she lay in her coffin. For some strange reason I felt the compulsion to bring a camera to the event of her "viewing" and her funeral, not caring how it appeared to the rest of my family. I wanted the occasion to be remembered, to know her face even in this context, and to put it in its proper perspective along with the moments I had recorded in my memory since the day I was born. Much as members of my family wanted this day to go by quickly and try to forget why we were all here, I didn't want that for myself. I wanted every aspect of this day to stick like glue, to know the sights, smells, and textures so that I could later recall the pain and the loss. Without the feeling of total loss, I didn't think I could remember each granule of joy I had experienced with my mother. One might think I was fixated on the ceremony itself the way I angled amongst the other members of the family, insinuating myself between the casket and the living as if I was the host at Death's party. To be certain, this was the first – and most horrific – occasion that any of us had had with the specter of it. In the past, death was always something that happened in other people's families, not ours. Death was a number reported on the TV news. It was a statistic collected during a national holiday. Now, to be this close to it, it seemed to me that we overcame the immunity to it, that now we could look to God saying "I thought we could be like this forever" and He'd simply shrug his shoulders in response. Only a short while before our family all met at the funeral chapel I spent some time reflecting on a scrap of paper that my father had shown me. It was a clipping from the newspaper taken two days after my mother died. Of course, having seen something in the newspaper made it real to everyone, but I still had difficulty accepting the finality of the message it contained. Bad news traveled fast, or so the headlines made us believe. But the sad irony was that death – the reality of it – arrived to my eyes two days later, and this was about the worst news anyone could have ever delivered to me. It was a piece of paper about two inches long and about an inch wide. It read "de Sousa" at the top, followed with a paragraph of a few dozen words. Below that, the name of the mortuary handling the funeral arrangements was prominently displayed. Their name stood out boldly amongst the relatively inconsequential blip of history that was my mother's life. My father handed it to me and I stared at it for quite a long period of time. I was taken aback by our collective epitaph once we depart this planet. Was this the sum total of one's existence, this one-by-two- inch scrap of paper? To be totally fair to my father, it was by his hand that the brief history I was nervously clutching had reached my eyes or anyone else's eyes. It seemed that the Death Industry was fairly adept at handling the affairs surrounding death, all the way from the moment the event took place to the moment of making it official by marking it in the newspaper for all to see. It was my contention that if we spent way too little attention on obituaries, we spent even less time celebrating people's lives when they were alive. Author Bio J.E. de Sousa J. E. 'Ed' de Sousa has been writing nonprofessionally since 1974, contributing various works of poetry and short stories through local publications and media. <br/> <br/> Ed is a child of the 1950s, and his first published work, entitled "A Mother's Son" (available through SynergEbooks at www.synergebooks.com), is an accounting of his memories of childhood and his mother's life and provides a glimpse into his history.<br/> <br/> These days, when Ed isn't writing, he occupies his time as a computer analyst and techno-geek somewhere in Corporate America, making his home in the bristled, rugged Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio. There, he and his wife live a quiet life far from computers and machines, tending to a household of critters at their ranchland home. <br/> <br/> Originally from New York City, Ed continues to travel, observing the human condition and commenting on it via the subtleties depicted in his writings. His stories typically relate to the "every man" found in day-to- day life and he describes his style as "non-threatening but thought-provoking."<br/> Reviews ...this is my public acceptance of my own failings and my public tribute to the lady who helped mold this extraordinary man. Our Muncie would happily slobber him with a thousand kisses if she were here today to congratulate him on this detailed account of things around our Mayor's home and elsewhere. Write on, Eddie! Make all of us proud to be part of this ordinary family and its extraordinary struggles through our victories and defeats. Of course, we also had our mini civil wars. You did not look for heroes or villains in the history of our lives. You simply pointed out our strengths and our weaknesses. In particular, let me say that you portrayed your mother as nobody else could. You grew up at close range to her special kind of loving, and you did not fail to see her dedication to each of us in the home. I'm particularly happy to see that you did not fail to notice that Muncie and I loved each other very deeply. My world has been quite empty without her. All of us miss her. When the others in our family read your book, I pray they will applaud with me your courage to bring out into the sun the complete family laundry. If there were stained diapers or worn out shirts, there were also bright dresses in all colors of the rainbow, silk bows and rare Madeira embroidery in the finest needlework ever seen. Thanks from all us to our precious and loving Muncie. Your book, Eddie, is a fitting memorial to the iron- willed Lady who was hiding deep inside her a soft, loving heart that very few people ever came to know. We were lucky to have been part of Muncie's Big Show so well chronicled in your book. Her memory will live on among us who so loved her. You have returned her to us in your book. Welcome home, Muncie! The Carmona set is waiting for you. Tell us again all about Jeff Davis and Varina.
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