You don’t necessarily make friends with the women who have children. That became very clear yesterday when I sang at a funeral for a 43-year-old mother who was very popular at our church. She died of cancer at such a young age, leaving a daughter about 10 years old and a husband who appeared sedated to the point of barely being able to sit up.
Nemia taught in the children’s religious education program, so all the parents and most of the kids knew her. They sat there wiping away tears. Even Father Brian choked up during his long homily.
But I remained dry-eyed. I didn’t know the woman, still don’t even know what she looked like. I searched the old church directories when I got home, but she wasn’t in there, and there was no photo with her obituary.
When you’re not a mother, you have no reason to interact with the mothers, and most of the mothers are too busy to get involved in anything that doesn’t include their children. It’s a divided world. Mothers’ lives revolve around school, sports, music lessons, pediatrician visits, religious ed, and other stuff I don’t even know about. Not having children, I find myself hanging out with older people, other childless women, and the few parents who cross the divide to sing in the church choir.
It was a very odd feeling singing for a woman I didn’t know in front of a church full of grieving people who looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t tell you their names. It was the Mom (and Dad) Club, of which I will never be a member.
God bless Nemia; I wish I’d known her.