Three years ago today, I received the phone call.
Three years ago today, the Officer made small talk.
Three years ago today, he said you'd been found dead in my childhood home.
Three years ago today, I walked out of my workplace, in shock, without a word to anyone.
Three years ago today, I felt more alone in this world than ever before.
I'd spent a lifetime fighting the world alongside you.
On auto-pilot, I focused on logistics.
I waded through the legalities.
I boxed everything up.
I ignored the sympathy, in all its forms, even down to the cards.
I ignored the grief.
I operated for the next year in shock.
Even when being operated on 6 months later, I was still in shock.
I thought that I, too, was scheduled to die.
It's as if you knew.
It's as if you prepared.
It's as if I knew.
It's as if I prepared.
Days before the phone call, I fought hard to get to Wanderlust Chicago.
A canceled reservation, fully booked rooms, normally I wouldn't have gone.
Something deep inside drew me there.
A circle, a cycle, unbeknownst to me.
My heart knew.
My bones knew.
It wasn't until sifting through my childhood home that I discovered my yearning to be in Chicago.
I was completing a circle, a cycle unbeknownst to me, yet one that I knew.
My heart knew.
My bones knew.
I'd been conceived in Chicago.
You died when I was in Chicago.
I lost you long before the phone call three years ago.
I lost you to a lifetime of pain that no one might be able to survive.
Tumultuous upbringing, walking into your father hanging in your childhood home, lost children, infidelity, narcissism, alcohol, struggling to find the manual to create a loving home, awakening one day to find your own tumultuous home had been created.
A circle, a cycle, unbeknownst to you.
A circle, a cycle, that I'll never know, but that I know.
My heart knows.
My bones know.
I lost you in the physical sense, though, long before 3 years ago.
I lost you in the emotional sense amidst the trauma of my teen years. I lost you each time you lost your mind. I lost you when you lost your hope. I lost you when you lost your light.
You lost me. You lost me beyond the physical and emotional senses. You lost me on a spiritual level. You lost me when I found my hope. You lost me when I found my light.
We slipped away from one another when my path diverted.
We slipped away from one another when I chose.
We slipped away from one another when I started fighting the world on my own.
I've learned, since then, to fight through surrender.
I've learned, since then, to lean into the light.
I've even learned, since then, to peer into the shadow.
No, really, it's okay.
By peering in that shadow, I have gained.
I am sorry for my walls. They were necessary. They protected me. They kept me safe.
I have gained a sense of my own light by examining the cracks.
These last three years have welcomed experiences that have blown the cracks wide open.
In these last three years, I have gained a sense of my own light, healed and whole.
Angels I associated with God, which I associated with Catholicism, which I associated with harshness.
The last three years have allowed me to soften.
The last three years have allowed me to untether.
Three years ago, I gained you as my Angel.
Since then, you've showed up for me in ways you never could in the physical sense.
I acknowledge your signs, your symbols and your presence.
Though I miss the gift you had with cooking (it was where you found your light).
I miss being able to call you (even if it's just the idea of you).
I miss the sheer joy on your face (though seldom seen in your last years on this earth).
I have, so very many times over these last three years, felt utterly alone.
I've realized in these last three years that you did the best you could with what you had.
I now know that your work here in this physically and emotionally-pained body was too much.
It was hard for you to find love.
It was hard for you to find light.
I've spent many moments in the last three years riding.
Riding the waves of guilt. Riding the waves of grief. Riding the waves of anger.
What I should have done, could have done, didn't do.
I've ridden the waves and questions out to seek myself, to find the deep ocean of my heart, to bask in the sunshine of my own light, to chase answers I'll never find.
I chose this path in which I've unveiled the greatest gifts you imparted that fuel my very light.
You gifted me with an intellectual curiosity in continual pursuit of wisdom.
You gifted me with a kind heart compelled to serve others.
You gifted me with a strong moral compass which always guides me home.
In these last three years, I've found my way to forgiveness.
In these last three years, I've unraveled so much mystery.
In these last three years, I've found my way to my own healing - a circle, a cycle, one that's now known to me.
In these last three years, I've found my way to your light.
I love you, Mom.
May all between us become pure light.
Let it be so.