Digging through my mother’s dresser several weeks ago, I retrieved a blue plastic cleaner's bag and peeked inside.
Was that a wedding veil, the abundant tulle lightly folded? I stuck a hand in.
It was not just one wedding veil I retrieved; inside were three full veils.
My mother had married only once, to my father 51 years ago. Her veil
is elsewhere. So whose were these?
I wished — as I have so many times since she died, one of my hands
cradling one of hers, the fingers of my other hand tracing her face as
her lungs and her heart slowly stopped — that I could somehow ask my
Susan Freel has mothered other people’s children for 30 years in the
child care business.
She lives with her 90-year-old mother, Joyce, in the family’s South Bend home.
“She’s my best friend,” says Susan, the youngest of seven and the only
girl in the family. “We support each other.”
Susan’s 51 now. They have a special mother-daughter bond, partially
because Susan’s father died when she was almost 19, when her older
brothers were already grown and married.
Joyce has bad arthritis, and her fading hearing forces her daughter to