Dear mum, I miss you.
Dear mum, I wish I’d listened more
and talked more
and visited more
and spent time memorizing the way your hugs felt.

I wish I’d recognized how strong you were
how brave
how much you fought so I didn’t have to
but then ended up fighting anyhow.
Mostly myself.

Someone I love told me it had been noticed that somewhere in my life
I often have a nemesis,
someone to hold some real or imaginary grudge against,
someone who really gets my goat
just by existing.
How dare they.

How do I explain that if I’m not fighting battles against
some imagined foe,
then I turn that rage on myself,
and I’m too tired to fight back.

When did I get so angry?
When did I become someone who walks around with their teeth clenched
with their midsection tight with fear
With hands ready to curl fists
Frenzied by this desire to strike,
not first,
but back
against a world I feel misaligned with.
I feel lost in familiar streets,
crowded, hemmed in by noise.

Dear mum, I miss your voice.
I miss your laugh.
I miss your ability to find goodness,
even in me who sometimes wants to see others fail
Wants to know that all their plans were for naught
That their ability to thrive so brilliantly
when so many are not
is undeserved privilege.

Dear mum, none of the seeds I planted grew,
my garden appears dusty and stale with wasted potential
Much like my twenties.
Why didn’t you teach me there is strength in leaving
just as much as there is in staying.
Why did you stay for so long?
Why did you trade your happy for his contentment?
Why did you stay in a house that was never really home?

Dear mum, I’m sorry I’m not stronger.
I’m sorry I’m not braver.
I don’t know when I became so afraid
to speak
to take up space
to make room for myself at the table
or better yet
to find a different table to sit at
with room enough for everyone to be welcome.
I don’t know where I learned that being quiet
was the best way to feel safe.
It wasn’t from you.

Dear mum, it’s mothers day tomorrow.
I’ll miss you just as much as I do any other day
Which is a lot.
I know that when dad died I made a joke about saving money on fathers day cards
and you knew it was a band-aid for the hurt.
I’m sorry I never learned how to hurt in front of you properly
I’m sorry that I never showed you how much it meant
It meant everything.

Dear mum,
I miss you.
Love, Trish