Do I dare, as I tiptoe down the hallway of today, open the door on the right or the door on the left? Wishing for that last conversation that never came, to hear voices I can no longer recall. Why is it the memory of the voice disappears so much sooner than all the rest…at least for me.
Behind those doors? Dust. Musty smell of old memories. Hers and his. Mother and husband. Images with frayed edges. It’s been so long now for one, less for the other. Both holes in my life I’ve had to fill so I could keep breathing.
It took years to understand I was my mother’s daughter. I thought I was someone else. I wanted so badly to be someone else until I grew old enough to embrace the laugh that was the sound of hers, not mine. To see I was she before life tore at her leading her to need the numbness, before she drowned in the numbness. And I still cannot tell her she is the best part of me and that her death prepared me, as much as is possible, for his. Unintended gifts to a teenage daughter that wouldn’t be unwrapped for years. Thank you for saving me.
If I crack the door to the left, perhaps I can whisper into the silence, “You are not forgotten.” Unmarked grave beyond my control. Broken stones carried away cannot erase the memory of you, dear mother, the heart of a once was family now shredded. You who carried it for us; we will be back for you. Sister and I. Some things cannot be forever broken. Love remains in spite of. It was not your fault. It was not your fault. I know that now.
What if I dare now to slip across the hall, door to the right. I am here more often to pull memories of him and me across the threshold into the light so they can make a difference for others. The future I never wanted, the one without you – the one my soul would not let me throw away, is unfolding…beautifully. You are woven into pieces and parts of it, mostly because the who I’ve become embraced all I loved most about you.
This year, there is a new sense of freedom, another layer of peace, a letting go and shedding of the heaviness of grief. It has taken years to remember the love in lightness, no longer in darkness. My memories cannot be silenced. They are mine. Mine to push aside or embrace. Mine to keep to myself or to share. I can be buried under them or I can set myself free.
I’ve learned about choices. I know I get to choose whether this side by sideness of the day of his death and Mother’s Day shall be about loss or about love. About tiptoeing or stepping boldly. About death or about life. I choose life.