I didn’t always love you.
You raised me, fed me, bathed me. You were my mother after all, those requirements come with the territory. Little did you know the joy of infantry would fade and for a while at least, all I’d know would be the screaming, arguing, leaving, and hiding…
Joy faded to fear, despair, failed suicide attempts and locking myself in my room. Until finally one day, as if something clicked, you looked me in the eye and asked if I’d like to leave. So off we went, just the two of us. Still I worried, I didn’t know how much of the screaming was yours. How much of the rage you owned or if I could hope for safety.
Several years went by, bickering, learning who you were all over again, slowly hoping I could feel safe in our own home. It was a long battle full of stabbing words and regrets, but eventually we recognized eachother. I started to remember the version of my mother who brought me to feed birds on warm summer evenings. The chalk on the sidewalks and the little apartment with the giant red hot tub. We started to heal.
Then he died. The ominous force of fear that lingered in the back of my head for years. The voice that had me hiding in the closet. The rage that made you leave me behind for nights on end. The badge, the public figure, the martyr, the drunk, the diabetic, the stranger who lived with us for years until we didn’t even know the meaning of joy. The reason I feared men.
You.. cried? I realize now as an adult that you had every right to mourn the human you loved enough to bear the weight of the wounds he inflicted. The possibilities that he promised but never provided. The joy that was supposed to be yours. But in that moment all I had was rage. We had just put our pieces back together and you were grieving the perpetrator. How could you? Why would you? Shouldn’t we have been happy to finally, really be free?
All I had was relief and joy at the news that brought you to tears, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I really knew you. If I really knew myself.
I confess that I didn’t always love you. For a long time I feared you as much as I feared him. I even thought about your death when I was small. Well, as much as my own. Then one day it happened; diagnosis, years of struggle, despair, panic attacks and finally, death. In what felt like an instant I learned who you really were and then you were gone forever.
Now, three years later, I thank what ever consciousness lies in those stars above that I was given you. Even when I hated you senselessly, you fought and chose me. Every day without you I realize how amazing you were.
You fought tooth and nail against all odds to keep me safe, to choose me, to feed and raise me. It was only once you were finally gone that I felt the weight of everything you had been doing.
I didn’t know I could love anyone this deeply, I don’t know that I’ll ever find such profound love again in this life, I only wish you could’ve stayed to see it and feel it be returned to you in full.
I confess, I didn’t always love you. Sometimes I hated you. Sometimes I feared you. Now that you’re gone all I know is how grateful I am that I had you.