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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yellow Submarine

Dear Josie,

You can only fight change for so long.   After some time it begins to eat at you, gnawing at limbs and forcing its regression. The resistance sits on your chest, constricting with the time like a serpent.  If one isn't careful, she could suffocate.  
The morning after you died I stood in the hospital bathroom, staring in disbelief at the girl in the mirror.  There were pools under her eyes, red lines and cracks.  The loss was palpable in her skin,  remnants of the fight in every crevice.  She was barely alive.  I didn't recognize her. 

It has been nearly three months since you left me, since the last time I felt your life inside mine.  My clothes are beginning to fit.  Sleep brings peace once again, food has reclaimed its taste.

The spring is what got me. This may sound strange, but for weeks I fought it.  Your father would leave for work, opening windows and blinds and I would close them, grabbing my hooded sweatshirt and turning up the thermostat.  I would hide under heavy blankets, sinking into suede couches and willing the winter back...the winter when you were still alive...the winter when everyone was isolated, cold and miserable like me.

People would comment on the weather, and the warmth began to peek through the clouds as car windows lowered.  Winter's death rattle, finally surrenduring to the light. 
But I refused.  I couldn't allow any good could to come in your absence. 
There came a day where I had to embrace it.  The sun and all its glory. 

I had wandered into the backyard in my selfish recluse.   It was seventy degrees and I was clad in my down winter coat, cursing the leaves on the trees.  I sat on the patio, staring at the flowers I hadn't watered, everything that was dying with you. 

Your brother had followed me outside, begging me to get up, soccer ball in hand.  When I refused, his three year old eyes stared up at me in confusion.  "Mommy, why are you being so shy?"

The sun provided a reflection in the literal sense, and for a moment, I recognized the image in his eyes.  I saw a mother with all the answers.  She was perfect and she was strong.  A fighter, her beauty swimming in a sea of hopeful blue.   

I realized something then.  For the rest of my life I would have a choice to make.  The buttons were like shrapnel to my fingers as I lay it down, her bitter envelope. 

There was his laughter as I swung my legs, pretending to miss the ball.  A chill as I fought the urge to sit, glancing at the coat on the chair.

Maybe just a light jacket, for now.


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