My son was a good man and upright. He was tender and kind to me, and he loved his kin and his countrymen. And he hated our enemies, the cursed Romans, who wear purple cloth though they spin no thread nor sit at any loom; and who reap and gather where they have not ploughed nor sowed the seed.
My son was but seventeen when he was caught shooting arrows at the Roman legion passing through our vineyard.
Even at that age he would speak to the other youths of the glory of Israel, and he would utter many strange things that I did not understand.
He was my son, my only son.
He drank life from these breasts now dry, and he took his first steps in this garden, grasping these fingers that are now like trembling reeds.
With these selfsame hands, young and fresh then like the grapes of Lebanon, I put away his first sandals in a linen kerchief that my mother had given me. I still keep them there in that chest, beside the window.
He was my first-born, and when he took his first step, I too took my first step. For women travel not save when led by their children.
And now they tell me he is dead by his own hand; that he flung himself from the High Rock in remorse because he had betrayed his friend Jesus of Nazareth.
I know my son is dead. But I know he betrayed no one; for he loved his kin and hated none but the Romans.
My son sought the glory of Israel, and naught but that glory was upon his lips and in his deeds.
When he met Jesus on the highway he left me to follow Him. And in my heart I knew that he was wrong to follow any man.
When he bade me farewell I told him that he was wrong, but he listened not.
Our children do not heed us; like the high tide of today, they take no counsel with the high tide of yesterday.
I beg you question me no further about my son.
I loved him and I shall love him forevermore.
If love were in the flesh I would burn it out with hot irons and be at peace. But it is in the soul, unreachable.
And now I would speak no more. Go question another woman more honored than the mother of Judas.
Go to the mother of Jesus. The sword is in her heart also; she will tell you of me, and you will understand.