She Did the Worst She Knew How

I said I wasn’t going to think about you this weekend; that I would shut my eyes and turn off electronics, stay off the streets where men are selling flowers out of buckets, but here I am.

I’ve been here days, weeks, just a mere ten minute drive away from your gravestone, the one I felt so proud to design with the engraved hummingbird and rhyming epitaph.  They were the best words I could find when the family called on me, the writer, to make it all sound nice.

I have a picture of your grandson standing at the graveside.  His hair is long, curly and falling over his bent down face. He never likes to cry, and the hands shoved as deep as possible into his pockets are a sign of his struggle against it.

Even to the death you controlled the manner in which you were buried, commanding torrents of rain to fill your grave until they had to dig the new one under the tree like you had requested.

You’ve always won, Mom. Your gravestone sits overrun by wildflowers in the summer and smothered with golden leaves that float down to cover you in the fall.  You’ve become a tree.  Is that the best way you could love me?

This day where the humans celebrate their mothers is a reminder of my host’s facades.  They will sit at dinner tables, applauding and toasting with eloquent words, but their minds will stay soaked in the truth while they make excuses.

“She did the best she knew how.”

Not you. You did the worst.

They will speak in rehearsed phrases and no one will mention the dysfunctions.  Maybe they have healed it; moved past it; shoved it so far down it is invisible.

Me? I run my hands over the scars, amazed at how far I’ve made it.  I touch the calloused tips of my fingers to my lips, hands which have scraped through rubble tirelessly just to be able to breathe.

And I feel it all, because the alternative is numb, and I can’t go to the cold anymore.  I will shiver to death again.  So instead, I turn my face to the page, and with a click I give it all away.

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