I often struggle with words, which for me either come out wrong or don’t come out at all. In fear of the first happening, it's usually the second. Here’s the result:
What I Never Got to Say
I stared at this unfamiliar figure, lying in the casket. They told me to say my last goodbyes, but all that went through my mind was everything I’d regret never saying to you for the rest of my life. So I stood there, motionless. My body numb, I couldn’t force it to move. I watched as everyone knelt by you and hugged you, but I stood on the side, with this intense aching swallowing my entire body.
When everyone left the room, I held your hand. It was cold and hard, but it was the only familiar part of you. The whole scene felt like a movie or a dream. It was as though I was watching myself from above, clinging to you, sobbing...and that was the only image I could see when I closed my eyes for the next two months.
I drown in my thoughts of you now and all the words I wish I had said to you while you were here. I curse the stubborn voices in my head telling me to ignore all of your letters, birthday cards, and Christmas cards. You have taken over even the smallest corners of my mind. I write back to you now constantly, searching for a release of the feelings that are bottled up inside, screaming for a way out.
It’s been exactly seven weeks and three days since you’ve passed, but the lack of your presence for so long before that day makes it feel as if you’d been dead for the past five years.
Those cards I ripped open and tossed aside are now sacred to me. Our only means of communication now gone. That was the first punch from reality: the absence of your handwriting in the mail. I took those letters for granted, assuming that they would just keep coming, until I was ready to face you in person. Now they’re a symbol of everything you took with you when you died.
Now I will never get that chance to face you, hug you and scream at you, tell you how much you’ve hurt me, or how much I wanted you in my life. We’ll never get to cry together over the years we’ve lost--something I’ve always thought necessary to move forward. I didn’t get to be mad at you, and it’s not fair. My chest aches at the thought of the empty seat at my graduation and picking out a wedding dress without you.
You forced me to grow up years ago when I found that heroin needle; but the difference between that traumatic experience and this one is that this time I am not weaker because of it. In fact, I am so much stronger.
I have finally realized that that missing piece in my heart can never be filled, no matter how hard I try to substitute with other people’s love.
I have learned that nothing in life is certain, no matter how much you think it’s guaranteed. Anyone you love can be taken away from you in a matter of seconds and there is no way of knowing. You’ve taught me that life is cruel and ironic, and it hits you when you least expect it. Every day I look at that pile of letters and remember that.
Above all, I would give anything for you to know this: I forgive you, Mom, and I’m so sorry for pushing you away. I’m sorry that you had to go before we could fix things between us. Thank you for shaping me into the person I am today. I promise to always try and make you proud.