Saturday, May 07, 2005

A letter to my mother

Dear Mama,

You've been gone for 10 1/2 years now, and I can't quite say that it's ever gotten easier. We moved after you went away, and I didn't live there long after that. That place never felt like my home. I won't even tell you who Daddy married. Let's just say, I questioned your gift of reading people for a while.

I sometimes wish you would have met my first love. He was a sweetie. He used to ask me how I felt about you as someone who wanted to know, as opposed to being a polite shoulder. He actually blended in with the four of us and was pretty much like their brother. Anyway, life happened, we broke up and believe it or not, I don't even miss him anymore. I think you would have liked him all the same.

I got married and though that was a bust for the most part, I got two beautiful kids out of the deal. Don't even bother doing the math, my son was born four months before I got married. Eh, you always knew I was the rebel. They're wonderful though. Really smart too. Unfortunately, they inherited the Smith nailbeds. Sorry about that. I cried a lot when I carried them. I had support from a lot of people, but they weren't you. No one was even a close second. It's not their fault though.

I don't know how you did it with four. I'm barely hanging on with two. There were so many times I wanted to punch through a wall when I was younger because I couldn't understand where you were coming from. As I got older, I realized that it was because you could see exactly where I was headed. A lot of folks maintain that I would have never gotten divorced if you were still around. I say, I would have never gotten married. He wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes under the hawk eye.

Being a mother made me realize why you were so tough. It helped me see how important going with your gut could be. I remember how many times you would be on my tail because I didn't "seem" right, and you were usually right on the money. I appreciate that now.

I try to live in a way that would make you proud and sometimes, I'm sure a do. I fall way short a lot of times though. I'm just living one day at a time and doing my best though. Ultimately, that's all you really asked of us anyway, wasn't it?

It's so funny how I would spend so much time trying to get away from you, while all of my friends couldn't get enough of you. You always miss what's right under your nose. You remember them getting in the hospital bed with you? How did you manage to touch so many people, just with a few words? You are the only soul I know that mastered counsel without judgment. When they came to say goodbye, it was as though they had lost their own mothers. Jim McDonald died two days later. It was a hard time for all of us. Turning 18 is supposed to be a joyous milestone, but I never remember being more heartbroken than I was for that entire month.

Anne died in May of 1997. Her cancer came back and she went really quickly. That was actually the last year I visited your hometown or hers. Actually, I've lost touch with a lot of people since you've gone, and with the exception of a few, I can't say I'm trying to reestablish contact. It's just not the same.

There's not an event that goes by where I don't wish you were here. Ty graduates from kindergarten this month. You'd love Jae, but I know how you always liked boys - he'd definitely be your heart. They ask me to drive by the old house to see your tree every day. It's gotten so big, considering that it sat in the garden for years as little more than a stick. Those trees actually look like real pine trees believe it or not. I never thought they would. I think I drive by the old house to appease myself as well.

I miss you Mama. It still hurts and I still cry. I mean, I'm not a walking mess, but isn't time supposed to heal wounds. When I see my girlfriends shopping with their mothers, a little part of me breaks inside. You were gone right when I was truly beginning to appreciate you and realize how big you truly were. I realize that you were tough on me because you knew that things would never be easy for me. You knew I would have to be strong enough for all four of us. I think that I was, most of the time. There are times that I wish that you taught someone to be strong enough for me. For all I know, maybe you did, but after you left, I was alone for a long time.

Fortunately, the four of us are close in different ways, and we hold on to and be strong for one another. But we always miss you. And as long as you're gone we always will.


Danja said...

that made me cry.... damn you

Soulful Journey said...

Sending you a great big hug. I know how you feel, you never really realize where your parents are coming from until you become a parent yourself. She watches over you, in everthing you do so she is not really gone from your life, just your sight.