Dear Mom

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Take this from me.

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Dear Mom,

Out of all the moments we’ve shared for the last twenty-two years, there’s one that still burns at the back of my mind.

I want to talk about that moment today.

It happened six years ago, when you were dragging my lifeless body off the bed, when your fingers were digging into my flesh but my mind was too numb, and yet too pained to register it.

It happened on the morning after my first breakup.

You’d always kept me protected, always drew the line between the good and the bad. I didn’t know there were places and spaces that existed between the two and so, when he promised me forever, I believed it.

The morning after my first breakup, I woke up feeling fine. Happy, to be honest, just the way I always did because I woke up to the thought of him everyday, the same way I fell asleep. It was a constant state of euphoria.

I sat up groggily and watched the dust motes swirling around a lone ray of sunshine hitting the bed and I was still happy. But an alien feeling had begun to surface from the depths of my amnesia and before my body hit the bed, racking with tearless sobs, I remembered.

I remembered everything.
The first morning after my first breakup, I experienced heartache.

I fell back on the bed, once more in shock… losing all sense of time, of obligations, of my body. Years later, I still can’t piece together how I really felt. It was like being dragged naked on the scorching dessert sand, like being pushed underwater and feeling the water gush into my lungs, like being stabbed and shot and shredded to smithereens.

There was also a haze.
It was tangible.
It was real.
I could see it.

I don’t remember if it was really brown or why that color stands out so vividly in my memory as I write this, but I do remember the haze. It was like a thick veil that stood between us as you came to wake me up.

It was early in the morning.
It was time to face the music.

You found me lying on the bed, lifeless, paralyzed with grief and you shook me. You called out my name and heard me gasp instead. I couldn’t breathe. And you said, “Get up.” It was a command. “Get up. NOW.”

Your hands closed around my ankles as you dragged me off the bed. I almost fell to the ground because I couldn’t move a muscle but you caught be around the shoulders and as I leaned onto yours you said, “If you don’t get up now, you won’t ever be able to get up again.”

I couldn’t feel it then, drenched as my mind was with what, for a very long time, I thought would be endless grief, but in the depths of my layered subconscious, your words had struck a chord.

I didn’t want to go to my internship. I didn’t want to face life. I didn’t think I could trust myself. I didn’t know how I’d be able to make it through the day without you. I was at the precipice; waiting for the dam to burst, yet gliding through the corridors of an infinite wait to feel something. I aged that day, and so did my heart.

But what has never aged, are your words.
That firm whisper in my ear.
The one moment that still burns at the back of my mind.

Out of all the moments we’ve shared for the last twenty-two years, this is the one that will always come back to haunt me, to heal me.

Thank you Mother, for transforming your daughter into a phoenix, for teaching her to rise from the ashes, to heal, and to fly.

Thank you, for teaching me that the world never comes to a standstill even if we feel that way, that life goes on.

Thank you, for being you.

With love,
STH

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