I turned the corner and the breath rushed out of me, my heart stopped completely. I drove by in slow motion and felt my resolution crumble into a million pieces, again. The tears already down my chin before I noticed they’d started. Someone was ripping off the siding from your favorite Mexican restaurant, where you ate nearly three times a week. You’ll never know this. You’ll never see what they do to the outside of the building, what color they’re going to repaint it, what its new look will be.
You would have loved this. You would have talked to all the waiters and waitresses about it; who they chose to do the work, if anything happened to provoke the change if not just age, what color paint they’ll use, and how long it will take. You would know all of this, within moments of entering the place. We will not be so forward, we will wait until they’re done and then just accept it. Not accept it. Live with it. Because what else can we do? We’re still here, living.
You’d end up loving whatever color they choose. You love all colors, in that beautiful “life is a wonder” kind of way you have about such things. I will probably forever hate it, because it’s not the color it was when you went there.
It’s been three and a half months since we lost you. Since your breath rushed out of you, your heart stopped completely. The tears that day were not yours though, they were ours. They are ours.
Your pictures on my nightstand and next to my bed. Your smile, your warm and natural and photogenic smile. It lives there. It lives in here too, deep in my heart, all around and through my being, hugging me in my lowest moments, and enjoying the joy when I’m joyous.
The night before you died, when you were asked if you enjoyed your life, you were honest and said “Mostly.” I think of the reasons I believe you weren’t entirely happy with everything, but I wonder what went through your head in that moment. I also remember all the times that I know you had to say you were happy about, and I hope those were your happy memories too.
Remember when you drove me around the whole valley to chase that rainbow? I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight. I can’t stop thinking about it. I pray that I am that kind of mom for my girls. That I could show them about life, and let them explore it, instead of just telling them how it is. That was the best kind of parenting, the Live in the Moment kind of Let’s Just Fucking Do It parenting, that made me a curious and intelligent being. A partaker in life, not just a bystander. A doer, not a watcher. A lover, not a cynic. You made me feel like an equal, no matter my age; worthy. You were an amazing mom. Most of my favorite memories of my childhood involved us being in a vehicle together, you drove a lot. And you always dragged me along. I loved it. Quality time; that’s my top love language, and I bet it was yours. You were perfect at it. I hope memories that grand ran through your head in your last moments.
I miss you mom. The fog that surrounds my thoughts right now is you, seeping into every pore and moment when I least expect it. When I should be at the top of my game, but instead, you’re on top of my game. When the color of paint should be the least of my worries. And yet… yet, there you are.