While on my recent book tour for Defy Gravity , I had lunch at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia. Seated at the next table were a mother and daughter. I learned through the fine art of eavesdropping that the daughter had taken her mother out for lunch to celebrate her 92nd birthday. Even though the mother was all dressed up, she still reminded me of a lovely little hummingbird, so tiny and fragile. As is the case with most people in their 90s, they no longer initiate conversation. So it was her daughter who did most of the talking, and since the daughter and I were practically seated back-to-back, it was impossible not to hear her as she reminisced about people who had once filled their lives.
"Well, those people were bad news, Mom. They weren't really that nice to you," said the daughter.
"Oh, I don't remember that," was the mother's response as she kept her eyes on her lunch, reorganizing her salad with her fork. The subject changed to the mother's sister, and though I couldn't hear the details (as I really wasn't eavesdropping in full gear—yet), I then heard the daughter say: "It's true. Your sister was no angel."
Hearing that comment, I glanced over at the mother to see her response.
"Funny, but I can't recall those things," said the lovely birthday hummingbird as she kept her eyes focused on her lunch. Her daughter then shifted the conversation to memories of her mother's marriage to her father. Though I could not hear most of the specifics, it just happened that I heard her say: "Oh, Mom, I could tell you stories about Dad, believe me. You had a rough time with him."
"I did?" the mom replied, never revealing her eyes. "I don't remember."
"You sure did." And just as the daughter began to elaborate on those difficult times, this little hummingbird of a mother put down her fork and made direct eye contact with her daughter. With the most gentle smile on her face, she said: "I don't want to remember those things anymore, Ann. Remind me, now, of what I loved. Remind me of what I loved about your father. I only want to be reminded of love."
That line not only drew the breath out of her daughter; it completely captivated my attention. I sat perfectly still. I could actually feel the impact that request had upon the daughter's heart. The mother had shot an arrow directly into the bitter wounds that were obviously possessing her daughter.
How a conversation can defy gravity