Merry christmas, mommah.
I don’t know
How I’ve come this far
Without you.

Some might say
It’s a tribute
To my strength
But I’m not so sure.

More than anything,
I think
It’s a tribute to yours.

I have an unwillingness
To admit defeat
Because of you.
Because of
What you taught me.
Taught us.

I’m willing to put aside
My fear of failure
For the possibility
Of success.

We all thought
You had so much longer,
So much more time
On this earth.

We were wrong.

I am angry,
I am still so angry,
Because of what the world lost
When you left it.

I remember saying goodbye
To you,
When I walked in your bedroom,
And saw your small face,
Your frail body,
Under that white sheet.


I remember the moment
That the anticipation ended
And I was forced to accept
That you were gone.

I uncovered your face
And took you into my arms
And finally
I cried
In front of you.
I let myself be.

I saw your toothbrush
In the bathroom,
The photograph of us
All together
On your wedding day.


And even now,
An orchid,
A sunflower,
A room painted yellow,
Will kill me
Just a little bit more.

A christmas tree is beautiful.
The lights
And ornaments,
Some with your name,
Are shiny and happy
And all the things
I’m supposed to feel.

But it gnaws at my insides.

I want to be strong
All the time.

I want to be beautiful
And sweet
And kind
And all the things
That you were.

I want to be grown
And accepting
And understanding
And loving.


But I am not,
Not always.

How could I?

How can I drive down these same roads,
Look at all these faces,
At my own,
As we all grow and change
And not think of you?

I see you
In every mirror,
In every sunset,
I see your hands
When I grip my own steering wheel.

And I want to fall apart,
I want to let myself go.

There is some roadblock
I’ve set up
In my mind.

No one
Can see me cry.
Not anymore.

I couldn’t even cry
In front of you
Until you were an empty vessel,
Dead and gone.


Is something wrong with me, mommah?
Will this feeling never end?

Will I ever feel,
Will I ever be able to rely
On something?

You were my only constant,
The only thing I could count on,
In this sea of broken hearts
And broken friendships
And new dads
And new babies
And old flames
Grown cold.

And then you weren’t.

My life was a lie,
My truth was a farce
As you were reduced,
Denied personhood,
By some invisible thing
That killed you
And a part of me.

And as I get older
I see you more and more
In my face.


I see your eyes
And your laugh lines
And your crazy, thick, wavy hair.

And you are in me
But you’re gone
And it’s not okay.

Mommah, how could it ever be okay?

Another year,
Another birthday,
Another christmas,
Another reminder
Of your lack of presence.

And I’ve never healed,
And I don’t think I ever will,
And somehow
I cling to my dreams,
To my hopes,
Despite all evidence
To the contrary.

I search for answers
In my own emptiness
And find none.

And so I just try.
I just fucking try,
And will myself into existence,
And give it whatever I have left.


And mommah,
I don’t want to feel like this anymore.

Five years is nothing.
Every day
Is just another day
Since I last saw you.

And I would give anything
Just for five minutes
With you.

Five more minutes
To crawl into your lap,
To be your child,
And let you tell me
All the things I need to hear.

Tell me
I will get better, mommah.
Tell me
I can.
Tell me
You know
I’m trying.

And tell me
That one day,
Even little by little,
This hole inside me will be filled.

I love you.
Tell me
You love me, too.