Mythic Mother: a eulogy two and a half years later.
It’s been 2 years 8 months and 16 days since I lost you, found you lying face down in the living room. Skin cold as the January snow melting off of my coat my world dissolving around me. The 911 operator asked me to please stop screaming, didn’t even know I was screaming, no, no, no n-
My mother was my world, my mother with her good heart, with her bad heart. Gave out so soon, I think she just loved too much, too long. It’s the kind of thing that you never really move on from. I feel like I died that morning too. Mom, do the two of us still haunt that rundown apartment together? I wonder if every winter when the wind and snow blow in if they can’t see our shadows stretch across that ugly lime green carpet, fix that leaky faucet keep trying to make that house a home for someone else.
It’s been 9 months 22 days and 4 hours since I talked about you casually for the first time, some childhood story about raising me right teaching me to fight for the things that deserve to be defended. It felt good, like setting a broken bone, it’s the hurt that has to come before the healing. Up until then I didn’t talk about you like a person, you were more like a legend, like a deity to pray to, when I pray I always have to stop and talk to you. Like a phone call home from college, “classes are going well, I met a really great girl I think it’s time she meet the family. Alex got engaged, finally, it’s a little bittersweet but we’ll save your seat at the wedding, I miss you, I love you, Goodnight.”
Speaking of nights, I can finally get through one without pacing the halls and when I close my eyes I don’t see the dingy walls of that apartment closing in anymore. But on the bad days I still can’t be the first one through a door because I see you on the other side of it. For so long I’ve been lost in this maze of mourning. Too cope, I took all of the you that I had: legend, human, woman, mother, and locked it away in my chest, with every heaving breath I feel the weight of you. Unsure of whether to turn or throw away the key, instead I swallow it. Make it a part of me, like you are a part of me. Like couldn’t look in a mirror for months without crying but now my reflection is a friendly haunting, a companion through my grief.
When I was 16 I asked you if having kids had ruined your life you told me that we were your life, that you were happy. (beat) That never left me, you never left me, and I never believed in legacy but here I am part legend, part woman, part you, all me, and I walk the world with your fast shadow at my side. You raised me right, raised up from the ashes of that January morning. I feel like I was born that day too. And now I’m taking my first steps, leaving my legends and putting your picture back up on my wall, I’m healing, making meaning from this mess of me that’s left. You left me equipped to handle the worst the world could throw at me and I’m grateful. I miss you, I love you, Goodnight.