I was sitting on my brother’s wooden deck on Halloween of 2017 when a realization hit me so hard, it became difficult to take a breath for a minute and made me nauseous.

I was going to be losing two extremely important people in quick succession, my now ex-husband and my lovely mother, who was becoming sicker and weaker by the minute.

My aunt had been standing somewhat behind me at that particular moment. I remember saying something to her but I don’t think that she’d heard me. Or perhaps she didn’t want to hear me. People often block out unpleasant things so I can’t really be mad at her for not being able to bear witness to my fear of this upcoming freight train.

I write my feelings and emotions a whole hell of a lot better than I articulate them. My voice is low in volume and somewhat childlike in tone. Whenever I hear myself on a recording or video, I can’t believe that it’s really me talking. No wonder cashiers can’t hear me, especially behind a mask. I’d expect myself to sound more shrill now, like the banshee in a movie that I once saw as a child.

Maybe I do in my worst nightmares.

Hindsight is a curious thing. When I look back, almost four years later, I understand that losing my ex-husband, although still heartbreaking and traumatic, was actually a doorway to making a better life for myself. I’m grateful that I opened that door and stumbled my way into the unknown, inky darkness. I’m finally starting to see the flicker of a candle in the window, the illumination an extremely welcoming sight to behold. I know in my gut that I made the correct decision and I’m much better off having lost him.

It’s become simpler to swallow the lump of swirling emotions that’s still tied to my failed marriage.

I keep having this random thought most days that I need to call my mom. Or that she should be calling me any minute now. Then I remember that she’s really, truly gone. If I want to talk to her, all I need do is look up at the sky or gaze longingly at one of her photos, although I always feel a stab to the heart each time I do so. She’s free of pain now, good God how that woman suffered. I comfort myself with that, yet I still want to jump inside one of the photos and hug her.

Life is loss.

We lose our keys, socks, underwear, friends, family…personally, I’ve lost my fucking mind a few times. When I find it again, it’s always a bit different and doesn’t fit correctly unless I trim some of the dateless stuff off, like the branches of my backyard cherry blossom tree.


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