Over the past eight months, I have had to learn that grief is the most sporadic and frustratingly uncontrollable emotion to have to deal with. It ebbs and flows and often hits seemingly out of nowhere. Just when you think that you pulled yourself together, and you go through stretch of really great days and no tears, grief creeps up again and build an instant brick wall for you to slam into.
December kicked my ass. I didn’t talk about it much of the time because it supposed to be a joyous time of year. Mom loved Christmas. It was her absolute favourite holiday. I’m one of those Christmas nerd types that has hundreds of Christmas songs on a playlist, just waiting for December to come around so I have an excuse to play it. I didn’t expect that my beloved holiday tunes would bring about such an emotional reaction. The truth is, I would break down into tears almost every single day on my way to and from the office in December.
Christmas without her was hard, and then my birthday followed three weeks later. It has been a lot to recuperate from and is been part of the reason I took a bit of a break on here. But I didn’t take a break from writing. In fact, just as I always have in my life, I filtered my emotion down into more writing.
Every once in a while I go through phases where my writer soul threatens to consume me. It almost always happens when I’m dealing with depression. While it can make for some productive creativity, it can also be a bit of a dangerous venture. There’ve been many nights in the last three months where I find myself pacing the living room, sipping whiskey at 1 AM, writing poetry like some sort of tortured soul. My writing has always been like this. When it comes, it comes hard, and if I don’t get it out it will haunt me. My grief over mom was a catalyst back into depression and therefore into writing.
Which leads me to this. The first poem I have finished in probably over two years. I wrote this for her. For my mama.
I wanted to share it today, on what would’ve been her 60th birthday.
I love you, Mama.
I still cripple
with thoughts of you.
My breath catches
my body heaves
and I never expect it.
Sometimes it is the soft light,
pushing through the clouds,
lighting a path home.
Not my home. Not yet.
You are keeping my seat warm.
I bask in the beauty;
only a moment or two, and I am hit.
Pain replaces comfort,
running through me with force.
Sobs racking my fragile frame.
And I cripple.
Sometimes I willingly bait it.
Getting lost in your words;
Rediscovered on pages long forgotten.
Blanketing myself in old letters,
I hear your voice.
Or with the whiff of red door,
Fooling my senses into believing;
you are here, you are near.
Memories crash over me.
Bruising my soul and breaking my heart.
And I cripple.
Sometimes others drive the impact.
A kind soul asking in earnest,
“How are you?”
My small child making a declaration,
of her own heartbreak.
Their words stir in me.
Inviting an unwelcomed reminder;
you are not here, you are nowhere near.
My fingers long to call you.
My head aches for your shoulder.
And I cripple.
I still cripple.