"They say every atom in our bodies was once a part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving, maybe I’m going home."
"If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die."
To my daughter,
Never let anyone call you baby. Except me of-course. Learn that although you may be small your two feet are more sturdy than the Verrazano bridge. We can move furniture. We can shovel the driveway, we can grill and we can screw in lightbulbs. Until a man has snorkeled through every single teeny-tiny crevice of your heart, until he knows all six of your laughs,
you are nobody’s baby, baby.
Don’t buy in to bumper stickers. Or hallmark cards. Or even quotes you see on tumblr. Don’t let anyone feed you reheated inspirational corn casserole.
Never feel muddled by the mediocrity you see. Always know that although the words feel safer in your head… letting them breathe will show people your heart, and angel, you should always show your heart. Tell your story. Make your bed. And remember that memories last longer when you pick apart your head and spit them out.
Some days I fear the absence of my mother and father for the majority of my life will effect you.
You will have questions and some of the answers may be rusty.
I will do my best to dig up the artifacts of my youth. The 15 year old journals scribbled down in spiral scratch pads that are primary sources to the very sentences she spoke. I will teach you her heart and I will do my best to put his hugs into phrases. You will know her smile and I can only hope you will wear it as proudly as I do. I will do my best to teach you her light. I will chose the most elegant words I can brew up to help you know the way her laugh lines folded at the corners of her mouth and the way his laugh could infect a grave-diggers convention in Forks, Washington.
And angel, remember things about people. Small things. Notice when your lunch lady gets a hair cut. And tell her you think it looks pretty. Life is nothing but hundreds of magical small things.
But mostly remember that life is mind numbing and gut-wrenching and absolutely dripping with beauty if you hold it the right way. You are nobody’s baby, baby.
You are loved.
You are loved.
You are loved.
You will be out with friends
when the news of her existence
will be accidentally spilled all over
your bar stool. Respond calmly
as if it was only a change in weather,
a punch line you saw coming.
After your fourth shot of cheap liquor,
leave the image of him kissing another woman
in the toilet.
In the morning, her name will be
in every headline: car crash, robbery, flood.
When he calls you, ignore the hundreds of ropes
untangling themselves in your stomach:
You are the best friend again. He invites
you over for dinner, say yes
too easily. Remind yourself this isn’t special,
it’s only dinner; everyone has to eat.
When he greets you at the door, do not think
for one second you are the reason
he wore cologne tonight.
Someone told you once, a soul mate is not the person
who makes you the happiest, but the one
who makes you feel the most. Who conducts your heart
to bang the loudest, who can drag you giggling
with forgiveness from the cellar they locked you in.
It has always been him.
In his kitchen, he will hand-feed you
a piece of red pepper. His laugh
will be low and warm and it will make you
feel like candlelight. Do not think this is special.
Do not count on your fingers the number
of freckles you could kiss too easily.
Try to think of pilot lights or olive oil,
not everything you have ever loved about him,
or it will suddenly feel boiling and possible
and so close. You will find her bobby pins
lying innocently on his bathroom sink.
Her bobby pins. They look like the wiry legs
of spiders, splinters of her undressing
in his bed. Do not say anything.
Think of stealing them, wearing them
home in your hair. When he hugs you goodbye,
let him kiss you on the forehead.
Settle for target practice.
At home, you will picture her across town
pressing her fingers into his back
like wet cement. You will wonder
if she looks like you, if you are two bedrooms
in the same house. Did he fall for her features
like rearranged furniture? When he kisses her,
does she taste like new paint?
You will want to call him.
You will go as far as holding the phone
in your hand, imagine telling him
unimaginable things like you are always
ticking inside of me and I dream of you
more often than I don’t.
My body is a dead language
and you pronounce
each word perfectly.
Do not call him.
Fall asleep to the hum of the VCR.
She must make him happy.
She must be,
She must be his favorite place in Minneapolis.
You are a souvenir shop, where he goes
to remember how much people miss him
when he is gone.
"You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering."
"There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Ever. Never."
Ive been following your blog since xanga, and i just want you to know that i think you are so strong. All i can offer is an internet hug from a stranger. Im sorry for your loss. Im sure your parents would be proud of the person you are becoming.
And an internet hug from a stranger right back. Thank you one million times<3
My father passed away six years ago in November, I was fifteen as well. And somehow, I managed to find your blog. I know you get quite a few messages like this, but your posts mean a hell of a lot to people like me. They did six years ago, and they still do now. Thank you. <3
Means the world. You aren’t alone. Thank you from the bottom of my heart
Six years ago today I went out. Despite my father passing 11 days prior, a selfish teenage version of myself looking to deny reality dressed up in short shorts, tube socks, and a black hoodie and went out for Halloween. I knew my mother was sad. I knew she did not approve of 15 year old me galavanting around town and she asked me once to please stay home.
I remember her saying that night, “You know… I feel like i’m going to walk upstairs and he’s going to be there.” In reference to my father. I remember simply replying, “Yeah.”
I declined her invitation to stay home. I simply had to go out with my friends. The next morning I awoke to an empty home and a worried aunt who rushed me to the hospital. There, I saw my mother for the last time. The doctors said it was the fastest moving case of pancreatic cancer they had ever seen. She was a vegetable. Yellow eyes and white skin, unable to lift an arm or even shed a tear. I could have easily spent a night at home with my mother that Halloween. I could have got a chance to say goodbye, to let her know that I am nothing but grateful for every moment I spent with her. That I admired every aspect of the way she moved through her everyday. That I thought she was beautiful with her glasses on. And that I looked up to the fact that she never let the world turn he cold.
Instead, I went out.
I have made a pledge to myself that in her honor, never again will I go out on October 31st. Tonight, I watched her favorite movies and listened to her favorite songs as I remembered one million memories I still have.
I miss the smallest things.
I miss how she hummed while she cooked dinner and how intense she looked at a book she was reading and the way she treated people of the smallest significance to her life. I miss the way she always drove with two hands on the wheel and how she hated cigarettes and how she bought me a sticker book on Mother’s day even though it was her day. I miss the way she stressed the syllables in my name when she was angry with me and how she could really never be angry at me. I miss the way she looked at her husband. How after eight hours in surgery she still looked at him like her hero. I miss how she would call every five minutes to see where I was, who I was with, and when I was coming home. I miss her heart and her warmth and her spirit and her light. I miss her integrity and compassion and intelligence and respect.
Some days I can’t help but think I’m not living up to the person she taught me to be. Like maybe I’m falling short.
To my first love, my first friend, my first teacher… even my first enemy.
You’re life is truly something to celebrate. I will do my best to emulate that light for as long as I am here. I love you Mom. Forever in my heart. 11/1/07