Yellowstone steam

Before: remembering the mother I barely knew, on the fifth anniversary of her passing

Before the children, before the husbands, before the illness and a lifetime of pain, before the doctors, before the horrors of treatments, before the electrodes taped to a shaved skull, before the months locked up, before the drinking, before long hours waiting at bus stops, before long afternoons in the bar at the mall, before the tedious weeks in the workshop, before the smoky AA meetings at the church, before the manic nights of sleeplessness or the deep darkness of days unable to rise from bed, before the glaring fluorescent hallways of the care facilities where no one seemed to care, before the anger or the shame or the desperate longing for a different life stolen in youth,

Before all that

There was the cat, perched on her lap in a sunny yard.

Suzanne Gibbs with cat
Suzanne Gibbs with cat (photographer unknown, circa 1953)

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