My mother has always been the bearer of bad news.
but no matter how dark the news is, she bears it with such grace and love,
the first thought to push through the screaming and wailing in my mind is
“I love you.”
So when I heard my mother bear news with sadness that had latched onto her very bones,
I broke. I wept.
She stood, with tears in her eyes, at more funerals than I can number on both of my hands,
but never let a tear fall.
So when I heard her, 1,209 miles away, gasp for air in between sobs,
I knew it was different.
She was different.
I was different.
Our family was changing.
And there was no going back.
I found a journal entry from three years ago.
I felt the carefully sealed cracks in my heart begin to reopen, shivering from the sudden wave of cold air that rushed through the fissures.
I read that, at 21:
I had been to more funerals than weddings.
I attended my first when I was 4.
I had held more hands in comfort than I had new borns.
A friend lost his dad when we could barely spell the word “toothbrush”.
The number of people I knew behind bars was higher than the fingers on my right hand.
I wrote that I remember learning what the word ‘suicide’ meant when I was three.
I was asked at 20 why I was so happy all the time, and if I ever got tired of it, and I answered that, yes. I do, but when you’ve seen the dice land on snake eyes as much as I have, you learn to use ones that are loaded, so you can only focus on the winnings.
Now, three years later:
I’ve been to more weddings.
I’ve held more bundles of life.
I’ve watched friends and family begin new chapters and write stories of their own.
I’ve had dreams shatter and be rebuilt.
I’ve laughed and cried and lost.
I’ve found new dreams, and found myself in the process.
I’ve gained new family and lost others, the circle expanding and contracting like my diaphragm.
But the rest of my chapters are still waiting to be written
I was so sentimental about you I’d break anyone’s heart for you.
My, I was a damned fool I broke my own heart too. It’s broken and gone. Everything I believed in and everything I cared about I left for you because
you were so wonderful and you loved me so much that love was all that mattered. Love was the greatest thing, wasn’t it? Love was what we had that no one else had or could ever have? And you were a genius and I was your whole life. I was your partner and your little black flower. Slop. Love is just another dirty lie. Love is ergoapiol pills to make me come around because you were afraid to have a baby. Love is quinine and quinine and quinine until I’m deaf with it. Love is that dirty aborting horror that you took me to. Love is my insides all messed up. It’s half catheters and half whirling douches. I know about love. Love always hangs up behind the bathroom door. It smells like lysol. To hell with love. Love is making me happy and then going off to sleep with your mouth open while I lie awake all night afraid to say my prayers even because I know I have no right to anymore. Love is all the dirty little tricks you taught me that you probably got out of some book. All right. I’m through with you and I’m through with love. Your kind of pick-nose love. You writer.
Helen Gordon, To Have and Have Not – Ernest Hemingway
staying awake tears me apart because my thoughts run so rampant they can’t be stopped.
Around every corner, in every second, something draws me back to that moment, forcing me to think, “what If?” Making me drown in it, be consumed by it.
It’s funny how two syllables can cause so much heartache.
But falling asleep is worse- it’s like a slow, suffocating, death that you can feel creep into your bones, one dream at a time.
All I ask is to have one night where I get peace.