And I told myself I wouldn’t do this. Turn your life into a blog post. And now here we are today. But after having bounced off each corner of my house I’m left with nothing to throw myself into but the soft-pillow comfort of words. I guess I didn’t give it much of a try, it is after all, within the hour of your death.
I never called enough. I never sent the pictures you wanted. I wasn’t present for you. I let the miles and hours between us condone my neglect. It was easier to avoid than admit that once I realize I’ll lose something, I let it go completely. Nevermind that we had years to stay in touch, laugh, gossip, share knowledge, leave messages, send letters. Just the sheer thought of losing you one day was enough to scare me into a stagnant period of denial that you existed in the first place. Like I said, easier to avoid than explain. Let’s just say, Patricia, that death sometimes calls the shots on how a life is lived. I’ve been afraid of this moment for years and now here we are today.
When I think of you I picture lightning bugs, Dr. Pepper, black and white movies, the scent of freshly polished wood, synchronized swimming and the warm crackle of your voice. I have four saved voicemails from you: 9/9/18, 1/28/18, 12/6/15 and 12/28/14. Four times I didn’t answer the phone. Why. Numbers that meant nothing before now. Just like 3/4/19, the day you would leave us. These numbers have stared at me for years, waiting to mean something and now here we are today.
I’m so proud of you. For having the courage to say just let me go…that’s even braver than fighting death, thats way braver than the coward granddaughter who wastes years avoiding things… and I can hear you now telling me how silly that is. So now you slip from this world to the next, from grandmother to ancestor, from body to spirit. You can dance free in the wind and off the sacred stones of the desert and swim in the tears that stream down faces full of regret.
When I think of you, I wonder about the times in your life where you stared out into space and where your mind would go. Times when your reality was too much to bear and those other times that brought you inexplicable joy. What did the room smell like? Who did you call first? Where did you go to center yourself? What was the joke that got you every time? What was the shirt that hung in your closet, that reminded you of that one moment, that one night, that one day, that one place, that one memory. Your favorite song, color, flower? These are secrets that have lived in your heart that will die with you today.
What scares me the most is I can’t remember what you told me to do. What were the instructions that you left? Did you want me to change the world or just be a good mother? Your last wishes. Your books. They are for me. Maybe your instructions are hidden in there, something in those pages you prized and profeted.
So many answers I might not find out, because I never asked.
In the hour of your death, I wrote these words for you, Patricia. You can’t read them but maybe you exist within the every curve of every letter of every word I’ll ever write. And I’ve winced every time I typed death, but why can’t we properly honor death? Its the one thing thats promised, the moment that hails, this story was told and now it is complete. The darkness, the mystery, the end point from which our rope burns, from the fire of life to the smoky dance that disperses into nothing once its all over.
I love you.