Dear Mom

I'm honestly not sure where to begin. I know it's been some time since my last letter. Under normal circumstances I would express something trite like, "I apologize for the delayed response," but in my situation apologizing for failing to write seems ludicrous, at best, and I am not responding to anything because you are not here to send or say anything to me.
This afternoon I boarded a plane and returned to Biloxi. Until this morning, I had been staying with Dad. It wasn't a long visit, only a little over a week, but not matter how long I decide to stay it's never easy coming home to an empty condo. Phone calls from friends and family help cushion the blow but after all the conversations have concluded the aloneness comes. There's no avoiding the inevitable.
Tonight I decided to treat myself to a steak burrito at El Satillo's, a local Mexican joint that is usually excellent. To feel better about eating alone, I brought along Barbara Kingslover's Animal Dreams. I am trying to finish it so I can read The Time Traveler's Wife before the movie release next Friday. I have been meaning to read it for some time, but life got in the way, I guess.
I'm not sure if you read Animal Dreams, something tells me you did. It's amazing how details like this have escaped me. Even after seventeen months they continue to elude me and it's not limited to your interests or personality traits. When I close my eyes and try to focus on imagining you I can't. I can't see your face; your eyes, nose, mouth, smile. All I can see is your hair even when you're facing me. It's like trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle in my brain but the pieces are missing; they've been stolen and there's nothing I can do about it.
You always joked that people only liked your hair anyway, but that's not true. People loved you. I loved you and still do. I can't understand why you never believed that. No matter how many times I tried to show you or tell you, it was never enough. And yet, that's all I can see, your hair.
Animal Dreams, as you may remember, is about a woman named Codi, who lost her mother as a child, a baby at fifteen and her only sister and sibling in her thirties. Although her relationship with her sister, Hallie, is touching, I was most affected by Codi's reaction to her sister's kidnapping and subsequent murder.
On her way to Tuscon to retrieve a letter, Codi confides to Loyd that she doesn't believe her sister, kidnapped by Contras, would allow herself to be bound, blindfolded and shot in the head. "Hallie isn't dead. This is a dream," Codi proclaims, as if denying the truth had the power to actually alter reality.
Looking back at the seconds...minutes...hours...days...months following your passing I was tempted to do the same. We live with someone our entire them...confide in them and they in us, but after they're gone we realize we really didn't know them at all.
And for the past seventeen months this realization has even affected my relationship with God. For years I've tried to learn of Him, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, trust in Him. I even thought I had a sound understanding of who God was and how He felt about me...but since losing you, that's changed. I realize now that I really don't know much of anything. God doesn't need to explain Himself to me. He doesn't have to bless me or answer my prayers. He doesn't HAVE to DO ANYTHING. He's already done Everything. I just need to accept and move on. This, I assure you, is not easy. However, I know what you would say to me if you were here, "Sissy, you are going to have to get over this. You can't live like this," but the reality is you aren't here to chide me and nothing I can do, good or bad, can bring you back. NOTHING.
So tonight I'm doing exactly what I shouldn't be doing; wallowing in my own sorrow. Wearing my grief like a designer label or a badge of some sort. It wouldn't be honor, shame perhaps? Shame I didn't do more. Shame that I failed you in so many ways.
Despite this, God continues to introduce people in my life for me to love, knowing I will probably take them for granted, and possibly hurt them too; two things I never want to be guilty of again.
Sometimes I feel like my life is held together by clothes pins. That any moment whatever is left will disappear, leaving me with absolutely nothing; nothing to give and nothing to receive it with. The world's only living heart donor, except mine wasn't given to another, it was broken and nothing can fix it. I will never be the same, ever.
The rain has finally come. I was hoping when I left Kentucky I would leave the rain behind. Guess I was wrong. No matter. I'm used to it. I'm often wrong about a lot of things.
I'm so sorry if I was ever wrong about you.
Love you forever-

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Stephanie said...

I have a needle, thread and some stitching knowledge. Maybe we can upgrade to 'basted together' soon.

I love you with all my heart. I wish I was there to listen to the rain, point out unnecessary details and hug you.

Anonymous said...

As you write about your grief you honor your mom and I feel privileged to read such honest, deeply personal prose. I love you Amber. May there be rainbows with the rain, always.

lisapants said...


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