02 May 2012

Dear Mom,

On Sunday, we lay the stone on your grave. The cemetery has been there since 1917, there are small hills and oak trees, ocean air is near. Your grave has been there since June 19, 2011, and this Sunday, according to tradition, we, your family, will visit your grave for this first time since you died, in the shadow of the Strawberry Moon.

Mom, I will tell you the truth: I started writing your eulogy, in my head, a year before you died. I could never get very far, and I abandoned the effort.I abandoned the effort because I thought you cannot eulogize the living, and live you did, every day. I am your daughter, we are procrastinators, I knew the words would come when I needed them, and they did. But I was wrong, Mom. Eulogy has come to refer to a praise or speech for a person, usually dead, but the provenance is Greek, eulogia ‘praise’, and by that reckoning, we ought to eulogize those we love every morning we wake, together.

Mom, I am very scared of Sunday. Life is changing so fast, but the girlfriend is sleeping under my arm as I type, so that is the same, and I wear my eyeliner differently, so that is different, and I miss you through waking hours and dreams, so that is the same. I have stopped waiting to understand that you are dead. Sometimes, it even makes me laugh with the great unbelievability of it all. (I know dead people, and you are not dead.) But, all of us being together, your family, your friends, without you there, standing by a grave with your name on it, that is real. One of the hardest things to do, Mom, is to see your friends, because they are the ones you chose (we were given to you, and you to us, but I would have picked you if I could). Lisa surprised me at work, and I cried. It was like you walked in the door.

Mom, there is no deus ex machina, no disco ball above the stage. You will never walk in the door, you will never surprise me at work. I cannot call you to tell you the small thing that I want to tell you the most: Kevin doesn't give Teepee a bath in the right way! I tell everyone this story, but all I want is to tell you. I want to hear you laugh. Mom, there is no deus ex machina, and I am not ready for the small, closest thing to a god out of the machine. My life changes, you are not here, I cannot call you, but Mom, I live the life you gave me, the life you taught me, by example, how to live backlit in your beautiful, unfading light.

Yours, always,
Leigh Michelle


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