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This is my Home Game entry for Week 18 of LJ Idol Friends & Rivals (therealljidol). I chose the topic "We must bear witness so that it scars us" which I would rather had read "We must bear witness to that which scars us."



Memento to Myself

For the first time in months, Mom
visited me. My siblings and I sat
in a bright room, planning our summer
vacation. She wanted to come along,
and I reminded her she was
dead. She hugged me anyway.

For years, I kept a journal, writing
detailed entries each day and
keeping cribbed shorthand for entries
to write later, when I fell behind.
Sometimes, though, I chose not
to write. The ugly, embarrassing,
frightening, I left out so that
I might forget them.

I remember two male friends in
an ugly argument, one throwing
red Kool-Aid in the other's face. My
journal did not record the events
leading to this moment. Years later,
I asked a friend why. Befuddled,
he said, "He'd insulted you." I don't
remember. But I will never forget
the other friend sitting calmly
as the red dripped down his face.

Sorting my mother's things, an
exercise in remembrance. Antiques
and keepsakes, scarred by cat-
scratch, embedded with litter scent.
Even those sent to the auctioneer,
looking like detritus washed up
on a far island. We stow
away our feelings, but anger
and despair wash over my sister
and me. Awash in the house that was
once our home.

My sister asked me how to talk
to her small children about Mom's
fate. She wants to teach them, to
help them avoid it. But now, I
realize even my Pop-Pop could see
what would come, selling off
so many family antiques
instead of passing them on. "You'll
only ruin them," he'd told Mom.

I could choose to forget. Could excise
the end of this story, remember
only the artist, the strong funny woman
I admire. Except I have begun teaching
my 5-year-old boy about writing
stories. "Something bad
must happen," I tell him. "The main
character must find a way to cope.
You must have an ending."

Mom's spectral arms felt warm,
comforting and real. Perhaps
she visited me to remind me
that I must carry on, pondering
all these things in my heart.

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
prog_schlock
Apr. 15th, 2016 10:41 pm (UTC)
This is really lovely in its simplicity and truth:

"Something bad
must happen," I tell him. "The main
character must find a way to cope.
You must have an ending."


They linger on, don't they, our loved ones? Gary asked about who was influential in our lives and I feel the people who've touched me, alive or dead, in every thing I do, every choice I make. Your mother's there even when she's not there.

Love to you!
prog_schlock
Apr. 15th, 2016 10:42 pm (UTC)
Oh and this song, which is about a living person who is gone but still impacting her:

alycewilson
Apr. 16th, 2016 12:53 pm (UTC)
You couldn't possibly have known, I don't think, but she loved Joan Baez, had that album, and played it all the time when I was young.
alycewilson
Apr. 16th, 2016 12:51 pm (UTC)
I truly feel that she is. At times I still feel like I'm having a conversation with her in my head.

I probably could have done more with this poem but it has been a very busy week and an even busier Friday!
bleodswean
Apr. 17th, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you took the time, though, and wrote this. Consider it akin to keeping cribbed shorthand for entries to write later, when I fell behind.

I think the Joan Baez piece is a perfect complement to this prose poem of yours....the observations feel the same. Is this important? Is this? This is what is surfacing for me...it must count as important then. I like the idea of your spectral mother. And yes, how do we use another person's life as a teaching tool.

Honest work, A.

kathrynrose
Apr. 17th, 2016 01:21 pm (UTC)
Hugs. Glad you're home gaming.
alycewilson
Apr. 18th, 2016 01:20 am (UTC)
*hugs back* Thanks. I would have last week, too, but time got away from me.
halfshellvenus
Apr. 18th, 2016 08:30 pm (UTC)
She wanted to come along,
and I reminded her she was
dead. She hugged me anyway.


It sounds as if you dreamed this, and yet is it so true to the way you talk about your mother. She would forgive the truth of her death, forgive you mentioning it, and instead think about how much she loved you all.

It's a wonderful way to be remembered, no matter how much you had to clear away in the reality. In the end, that is still the most important part of who your mom was.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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