Dear mama, this morning, I woke up to a lot of change, most of which is self-inflicted though not all of it feels good. I, of course, instinctively wanted to pick up the phone and call you or maybe that was last night when I was drowning in a sea of tears? Oh, how cliché of me, right? A sea of tears…
Nonetheless, this change I speak of is all in my best interest. You know what has been the most difficult part of living without you? Loving myself as much as you loved me. That’s right – oftentimes, I completely forget about my self, throwing her to the wayside like a piece of trash. Let me pick up everyone else’s mess before I pick up my own. Well, we both know that doesn’t work, so here I am, attempting to love and care for myself as much as you loved and cared for me.
Did you love yourself, I wonder? Did you ever sit at your home, alone, wondering if this was it? And not in the poor me sense but in the, I’m going to find every single thing to be immensely grateful for sense because for once, your self was enough? Sitting in your captain’s chair, enjoying the summer breeze and the company of napping four-legged felines was enough? Admiring your artistically material possessions, experiencing a true sanctuary of security in the roof over your head and feeling like it was enough?
What kept you going, motivated you when you were at your lowest? Was it your children, your friends? Was it even external or did you have an inner mantra?
Exactly one week ago, I went on a grueling eight-hour, twelve mile, give or take, round trip hike in the Eastern Sierras to a summit of 11,760 feet. Coming down that mountain in less than half the time it took to get up there was actually the most difficult part. The scorching sun beating down on already sunburnt extremities, the lack of support from my twelve-year-old shoes, the ache of every single muscle in my body – all of these physical pains.
With you at the forefront of my thoughts, I inadvertently developed a mantra with each taxing step, “Emotional pain is worse than physical pain.” Every time I almost fell on the dry, slippery rock and gravel, my trekking pole saving me from being a bloody, bruised mess, “Emotional pain is worse than physical pain.” I’m not exactly sure where it came from but I guess all that matters is that it helped. When I briefly reflected on the initial pain in the aftermath of your death, I didn’t feel the physical exhaustion any longer.
I suppose the mantra was kind of a fucked up metaphor for my entire life since you died. I can get through anything because there was a time when I didn’t think I’d make it or even if I wanted to and here I am! The emotional pain I was speaking of was not just any emotional pain, it was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life and if I can still be here today, writing you this letter then I can hike all of the fucking mountains in this fucking world called life!
Until next time, I love you, mama.