Tag Archives: loss

I am a monster

My mother is crying.

I am sitting with my arms around her in a gesture meant to comfort, but it’s a perfunctory effort. My arms may as well be made of wood, and my heart, of stone.

It’s February and we are in Florida, attempting to celebrate my mother’s first birthday without Dad. Mom is raw and unsteady. As brittle and delicate as a fallen leaf. When I arrive at the airport, I hug her and try to find the right thing to say. Saying the wrong thing, even a sincere “how are you?” brings her to tears some days. But my own eyes stay dry.

I am a terrible daughter.

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My totally lousy Christmas (and not for the reasons I expected)

I had never thought to make a list of questions I don’t want to be asked in the presence of my mother. That is, not until my mother took me to a hometown ER for the first time in my adult life this past Saturday.

Upon my arrival in triage, the ER nurse spoke.

“What is your weight? Please step on the scale.”

ER

WEIGHED IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER? THANKS DUDE-NURSE.

I wobbled in that direction–partly from illness, mostly from dread. I had been sick for about three days, but unfortunately my appetite for Christmas cookies was unaffected. My weight, a number carefully hidden from Mom, would soon be revealed. Continue reading

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

This will be my first birthday without you. You always sent me a sweet card in the mail and called to sing me the birthday song first thing in the morning. How I will miss that.

When I think about you that way, my heart aches. It’s better if I try to think about all of the wonderful birthdays you, Mom and I spent together. I am going to need every last one of those happy memories to get me through.

My 29th birthday

As the day approaches, I keep remembering your version of the story of my arrival. You used to tell anyone who would listen what it was like for you the day I was born, and it never failed to make me smile. Continue reading

In Dreams

She comes to me in dreams sometimes.

Aunt Mar is in the kitchen of her old apartment of Parsippany. She greets me cheerfully, casually, as if only a few weeks without seeing each other have passed. If she’s at all surprised to see me, it doesn’t show.

Aunt Mar is making eggplant parmesan. Without looking, I know there’s one portion made with chicken already in the oven because she knows I don’t like eggplant. It is always made clear to me that I am her favorite, just as she is mine.

I am overjoyed to see her, but also confused. Hurt. Angry. Why had she had left me? I was only sixteen. I needed her so badly.

I want to scream “you died! How are you here?” But would speaking the words aloud pierce the veil and make my happy dream evaporate? I am afraid.

What do you think of me? Of this person I’ve become?

Do you still love me? I hope I haven’t let you down. 

Where did you go? Please don’t leave again. I still need you.

I’ll be OK. I just love you so much.

I say nothing. I let her hold me in her arms like the child I used to be.

She comes to me in dreams sometimes. Just not nearly as often as I wish.

Aunt Mar and Jen