Is. Was.

My mother is was a 60-year-old women, but a 39-year-old mother. Her obituary will someday say says she is survived by two children: a son, a daughter. It will say says she is survived by a husband, who loves loved her. With four brothers and one sister, with dozens of houses in dozens of places she once called home, with friends she has known knew for more than 40 years, it will say says her life was full.

She is was a songwriter, a guitar player, a musician—with slender fingers and chewed-off nails and thin calluses since she doesn't didn't play enough to build up those thick finger-pads with comma-shaped indents on each tip. When she sings sang her voice lifts lifted above her strumming guitar to sing of her darkness and of her Maker's loving kindness.

She is was a small woman. She is was athletic and thin from a lifetime of digging ditches, building houses, tilling garden soil, and dropping chain-link and wood post fences into the hard ground. The muscles in her arms tense tensed when she retells retold these memories; she speaks spoke and her arms rise rose dramatically before she pounds pounded her invisible spade, her imaginary hoe, into the ground again and again and again.

She has had cancer, in her breast and in her lymph nodes. My father spends spent his days and nights researching, reading, trying to understand what is was happening in the body that lie had lain so close to his. He is was trying to save her. Together they travel travelled to doctors and healers, crossed borders for cures.

Whenever I see saw her she always wraps wrapped those thin arms around me. She presses pressed her just-barely wrinkled cheek against mine—hers a rich olive that so easily tans, tanned, mine a pale pink prone to burning in the sun. Her affection is was so ready, so present, sometimes a little desperate.

So is was mine.