Words spoken to an empty room, except for me and your memories.
Some days are always going to be harder than others. Some days are always going to make me cry. Some days are always going to bring back the excruciating reality that you aren’t coming back. Today is one of those days.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Maybe its because you were always my biggest supporter, and I could use a little more support these days. You always reminded me that nothing I could ever do would make you love me any less. If I wanted to throw up my hands, and say enough, you’d let me crumble into your arms. If I wanted to be different, you would never try to push me back into the perfect box the world asked me to step inside. If I wanted to demand more from society, you let me cry on your shoulder. Maybe these days, I miss being seen through your eyes.
And maybe I’ve been thinking about you lately because legacy has been on my heart. The idea of what I want to leave behind when I’m gone. The idea about what all of “this” means. And it kills me to think about how my story of triumph rests a lot on your story of pain. Much of what has made me resilient comes from the manifestations of your pain in our relationship. Much of what has made me brave comes from living through my worst nightmare of your pain. But I don’t want pain to be your legacy. And looking back at our story, yes there was darkness and yes there was pain, but late at night when I’m all alone, what I long for more than anything in this world, is your love.
I long for the light in your eyes when I would tell you about my dreams, which the rest of the world thought I was crazy for. I long for your gentle pat on my hand that everything was going to be okay. I think you were the only person in the world, who was brave enough to grab me in a hug when I professed I was strong enough to do it on my own. So no, your legacy might be a little rusty on the surface, but below it all your legacy is hope.
I think the hardest part about being here….is that no one knows you. No one but me holds your memories. No one but me holds your legacy. And one of my biggest fears is losing myself to this race I’ve entered. Losing myself and you to conformity and the struggle to be enough. It hit me in the face yesterday, when I was asked, what things we used to do? And I drew a blank. I got so caught up in the flurry of finals and proving my worthiness, that I was on autopilot. I was forgetting why I am here, and who I am, removed from all of this. So today I took a break, I lit a candle, I cracked a Budweiser, I made you a cake, and I celebrated your life. You are changing the world from heaven. Your “-“ mattered and it deserves to be celebrated.
So here I am on your birthday, 15 page paper ahead of me, reminding myself that there is nothing to fear. When doubt creeps in, I must take the time to breathe and remember how I got here and where I am going. Because if everyday is part of our legacies and we define our stories……I know I want mine to be one that is celebrated after I’m gone.
Here’s to you mama….47 years of changing lives.