When Strength Is All You Can Offer Your Mom | Omayma Khayat

Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

Today my mother’s voice seemed tired,
64 and still working, insurance and bills 
Don’t wait for anyone
Night in and day out, the hospital she’s at 
Ran out of masks, again, and she is scared
She tells me my dad is OK 
No virus, yet, but 28 residents in his nursing home
have died, and she is scared
She says she misses her grandkids,
All 7 of them, that she wants to hug them
And kiss them and give them candy and gifts
But they may be a carrier, and so she is scared.
She asks me how I’m doing, one state away
And I tell her I’m fine, we are at home, safe
Yet she is still scared.
I tell her to remember all the days we had 
When she didn’t know if we’d make it
To the end of the week with the little she made
Or to remember how she’d pull off an entire 
Filling meal with only 3 ingredients 
I remind her of the time her father passed away 
A few months before my wedding and how she
Smiled throughout, her strength showing, 
Despite how she missed him at that moment
I tell her so many things about growing up
About how she inspires me, about her love and compassion 
About my children and their success and failures
and even about the weather 
And about the future and about everything in between
I say so much, except the one thing I needed to say
Because I know it will break her down in tears 
And I am so far away and can’t offer her a hug,
No one can.
And because it can’t be true, not now and not for a while.
I want to say, “Mom, I’m here for you”.

 

 

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Omayma Khayat is a mother of three children, ages 11, 17 and 19. She is American-Lebanese roots, her name means young mother or little nation, a title she has been proud of since her first child’s birth at 21. Having worked on her BA for English Literature from MSU and completing a Visual Communications BS from Westwood, Omayma was a full time project manager in the printing and installation industry with over 15 years of experiences, until the recent COVID-19 pandemic that caused the world to shift off axis.  She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she deals with the everyday toils of teenagehood on the brink of adulthood and young adolescence on the brink of teenagehood – a conundrum indeed.

Her poetry deals with the hard blow of reality and searching for her identity, always being in between two worlds. It delves into the everyday struggles of being a mother, a woman, an Arab, a Muslim, a person of color and the list goes on. Her poem “Ingredients of Worth” had been published in the Brownstones Poets anthology and was commissioned by Jessica Corbin and Bella Voice Singers to be a piece with instrumental music written to it and performed at a concert honoring “Many Voices”. She has appeared as featured poet at various open mic venues including, Tom Kane’s Bookmark Bards, The Brownstone Poets, and Weather for Media. Her poem “Drawing a Map” was published online for Rough Beasts – Indolent books. She is currently working on compiling a volume of poems and short stories to publish soon while under a state-wide quarantine.

 

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