My mom is gone. I lost her more than two decades ago.
I was almost 23.
I was barely formed.
I skipped right over it. I’m so Midwestern, every time in the past 20 years when someone learns my mom is dead, they’re immediately grief-swept. “I’m so sorry.” I help them. I make it easier for them. “It’s ok, no really, it is.”
You know, it’s not.
And on Mother’s Day, it’s especially annoying because the temptation to wield the loss like a sword or a victory is huge. Facebook posts of photos of moms, long, sappy messages about how much mom means to the poster, tags and tweets everywhere. I could post. I could showcase my loss.
If I still had my mom, I wouldn’t be posting about her on Facebook. First, she hated photographs of herself. So, tagging her in a photo of us wouldn’t please her, it might embarrass her; that’s no Mother’s Day gift. Second, true to her own humble self and equally Midwestern roots, she’d probably call me after reading a long sappy post and say “That was nice, but you could have just told me. Why’d you post it for everyone?”
I feel the same.
Yet, I spent the day continuing to write on a memoir that finally saw the light of day in the past year. And deep into that story is a public telling of her. Of me. Of my family and life and choices. Why would I tell everyone and not just tell her?
This question emerged among other memoir writers I studied with. One woman said “I have a memoir. I am waiting for people to die to publish it.” Avoiding hurt. Embarrassment. Argument.
I don’t have argument. I have guesses. Guesses at what I missed. At what was true. Conversations I’m building from one side, never knowing what the other may be. I was too young to talk as freely as I’ve learned how to since her death. I write into the universe now because it’s my only channel.
And no one heeds the lesson. Love your loved ones now. Never miss an “I love you.” Never skip a hug. It’s cross stitched on a pillow. It’s posted on Pinterest. Carve it in wood, send the Hallmark. And on and on and on. Live it. Few do.
I actually was very loved by my mother, and she by me when she died. But she missed so much. I missed so much. I can’t call her. I don’t have her counsel.
It’s strange to have put in so much time on the book today, of all days. I had the time. Life is busy, today was free. We had no brunch. No visiting to do. Instead, I didn’t post. I wrote.
Feminist, activist, outdoor advocate, animal lover, chocolate shake lover, reader, watcher, talker, actor, speaker, worker, writer, urban adventurer, hustler, involved, passionate, excited, ready.