(It’s International Women’s Day, so I wrote a quick thing about my adoptive mother, who was also my great-aunt, who was also a woman.)
My mother was, at the end of her life, a soft, squat woman with almost no wrinkles except around her eyes, which were small and bright, and clear, gold irises rimmed in a deep blue-green. She died just before her 80th birthday, would have been 81 this January. She was too old and too plump for anyone to think of her as keen, too gentle and selfless to seem shrewd. But even in stalwart old age she looked younger than 60, and felt it; she shamelessly flirted with men many decades her junior, who let her.
The generations of women in my family were given to fits of “the blues,” as my mother used to say — not until my 20s did I understand she meant depression.
It would have astonished anyone who knew my mother, to know how deep and unshakable her grief moved, or the ways it moved her. They would have been shocked by the way color could drain from her round, red cheeks, at how angry she could become.