I woke up three months ago to a Facebook message from an old friend of my mom’s:
“Hey, I know this might be weird, but your mom’s profile posted on my wall the other day. I think someone hacked her account. I thought you should know, just in case you were planning on deactivating it or anything. Sorry to bring it up, but hope you’re well!”
I’ve received multiple messages like this over the years. Friends who are doing what they think is best, who, I’m sure, are a little creeped out to receive a message from my dead mom. I can sense the “elephant in the room”, the question that is implied: “Why haven’t you deleted her page by now?” A subtle nudge (in case I’ve forgotten) that this should have been done a long time ago.
My mom did not leave much behind; there were no parting prayers or gifts, no final words. I left the hospital the night before she died with my alarm set to drive back the next morning. Instead, I’ve resorted to clinging tightly to things that others would describe as disposable: pieces of paper that state “Don’t forget bread!!!”, phone numbers on sticky notes, old hair ties, half-used tubes of lipstick... READ MORE
I am standing at the top of the stairs, desperately clutching my throat and gasping for air before falling to the ground, succumbing to tunnel vision and nausea. I am lying there, looking up at the ceiling and not understanding where I am or how I have gotten here. I want to scream or call out for help and I can’t catch my breath long enough in between sobs for that to be a possibility. Like a bad dream, it feels like I’m drowning or dying or that the world is ending. A physical manifestation of my anxiety, an opening of the floodgates, a terrifying realization that I am not invincible against my emotions. The irony is that the cause is something small and inconsequential: a book report I had forgotten to turn in on time, one I had slaved away at for weeks. Despite only being eleven, I understood that this was not an appropriate response to a bad grade, my first taste of my body and mind becoming enemies I couldn’t trust. READ MORE
We stood at the threshold to our boiler room, a dark backroom of our basement. My father and I had been picking away at her things each time I returned home. My brother was never a part of this ritual — “they’re women’s clothes” my dad would say. A small part of me knows it’s still a bit surreal, even now, when the three of us are together — too many awkward gaps in conversation where her wit would fit in, a negative space in our new family photos. READ MORE