Yesterday's Lessons

Because I remember hiding in the pantry as a child to eat my feelings, I tell my daughter every day how much I love her.

Because my father died when I was 29, I finally understood my mother’s loss of both of her parents at the age of 19.

Because my family broke when we buried my father, I came to appreciate those connections that remain for the precious gifts they truly are.

Because I hated the girl/teenager/woman looking back at me from the other side of the mirror until recently, I tell my daughter she is healthy and strong before I tell her she is beautiful.

Because I grew up knowing I was the reason my parent’s got married, I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 15.

Because every time I thought He’s The One I was wrong, I said “I do” to the right man.

Because I was ashamed of my kinky curls, I silence my first thoughts and simply respond with a “thank you, baby,” every time my daughter tells me my hair is pretty.

Because I was left standing on my front porch waiting for my friends to pick me up for senior homecoming, I learned the importance of holding my head high.

Because I once wanted to die, I am grateful to live.

Because I still have dreams to make a reality, I wake up with a reason to try harder.

Because of yesterday, I have today.

 

***

This post was originally published here on AspiringMama one year ago in response to a writing prompt. The date may have changed, but the message remains the same. I just needed to remind myself.

Disconnected

 

She looked away from the monitor to hang up on the incoming call. After setting her phone on silent, she lost herself with faceless friends.

***

 

This post was written in response to the Red Writing Hood  weekly writing meme on Write On Edge. This week, writers were asked to write a short story using Twitter as our Muse and 140 characters as our character limit.

What I Don't Know...

 

It's the day before my father will die. He's in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit, hooked up to machines monitoring his vitals, with a light so bright hanging directly over him that I must force myself to think of things other than tunnels and what lies at the end of them.

My mother-in-law is sitting behind me on the bed. She watches with me as my father blinks, opens his eyes, and focuses them above us both. His eyes meet mine and he opens his mouth to speak a single word. But his mouth is dry and he cannot vocalize, leaving me to guess what he is trying to tell me. I offer him water, ask him if he's cold, are the lights too bright? He closes his eyes in frustration and weakly shakes his head no. Then he raises his right arm as high as he can and points to the light above the very bed we will all stand around as a family tomorrow night when he leaves us much sooner than any of us had ever anticipated.

"So the light is too bright, isn't it?" I ask again. He shakes his head no and points again, silently speaking the same word over and over, his mouth forming around the tubes going down his throat. My mother-in-law suggests I ask the night nurse for a pen and a notebook, so I leave and return, pen and paper in hand, only to discover he is too weak to write.

"We should go," says my mother-in-law.

I kiss him. I tell him I love him. I tell him that I will see him tomorrow. I don't realize that he won't know we are there beside him. I don't know that my father is pointing to the spirit of my grandmother floating above him. I don't understand that he is trying to tell me she is waiting for him; that it's time. And I should. He's the only one who believed me when I told him she smiled at me when I kissed her cold cheek that day I thought she was sleeping when I was only six. She watches over us both, he has told me more than once. Her only son and her first grandchild. So many late night conversations about the spirit that bound us together, always grateful that he believed me when I told him she smiled at me that day. And yet, I leave, unaware that I should have stayed with him.

I don't know that my mother-in-law suspected what he was trying to say. Or  that she sent me out of the room on purpose. And I don't know that he nodded his head that yes, someone we couldn't see was waiting for him or that this good-bye will be the last.

So we leave. I climb into bed with my six-month-old daughter and my husband. And I sleep a dreamless sleep.

This post was written in response to a writing prompt on Write On Edge. This week, writers were asked to write about their worst memory. Mine is not knowing what tomorrow would bring.