He said I'm gonna put my guns into the ground,
I can't shoot them anymore,
That long black cloud is comin' down
And I feel like I'm knockin' on Heaven's door.
My grandmother once told me that my mother was fond of this song.
She also told me that there was a time when my mother desired death.
That I was a gift, and she was to be the sacrifice.
I would be her greatest accomplishment.
At 27 years old, and 20 years after my mother's death, it's occurred to me that I've never once asked even the minimalist questions about her. I think I thought I knew her. I don't remember what she smelled like, but I know what she looked like. I don't remember what she sounded like, but I know what her smile looked like. I don't know what her passions and goals were, and nobody ever told me.
I don't know the true essence of the woman she was, but I do know that I've spent, at least, the last 19 years attempting not to become her, while subconsciously reliving many of her horrid life experiences. I knew, and ran from, and learn more about, her pain, but I've never been introduced to her happiness and joy. Without that simple knowledge, life has been at a standstill. Just when I had begun believing that I was no longer grieving, I learned that the grief of a loss of this kind of magnitude is endured in waves, and I'd just been lying in a valley.
Now is the time to reshape and reclaim. I am reshaping and reclaiming my relation to, and relationship with, my mother by rustling the family tree and the family's collective memory. I'm in the process of drafting every question that I've ever wanted to know about my mother, to be shared, and hopefully answered as honestly as possible. This will lead me to the ultimate climax the middle of this year - to bring the family together in celebration of my mother's life, to breathe new life into the memories that I have of her, and to further help me in my healing process.