168 Days. Dear Mom…

by Laura

Dear Mom,

It’s been 168 days since you died. I had to use an online calculator to figure that out. I’m not like a recovering addict counting each day, although I wouldn’t mind getting a chip or something. I think I’ve earned one.

It’s still so goddamn painful, Mom, doing everything without you. Sometimes it all wells up inside me and nothing– not crying or screaming– would be enough to let it all out. All I can do is hold on to something and try to steady myself until it passes.

Remember when this all started and we had that talk about things left unsaid? How you said it was particularly terrible for Jay when his father died because they rarely talked, but it would be different for us? You said, “Even if this turns out to be really bad, whatever this is, it won’t be like that for us. We talk all the time and we know how we feel about each other.” Yeah, well, that doesn’t mean things weren’t left unsaid, Mom. There are plenty of things I wish I could say.

I’m sorry I didn’t realize Stage 4 was Stage 4. I knew what it meant, but you were so exceptional, I thought you’d be the exception. I didn’t treat you like it was Stage 4. I wish I could go back and do that.

Parker has something wrong with her. They want to give her a colonoscopy. She’s only 8. I don’t know if I should let them do it or wait and see. Maybe it’s all just anxiety. Should I let them do something so invasive if this could all just be nerves? Can you talk to her, Mom? She’s so scared. Can you tell her you had lots of colonoscopies and let her know it’s going to be okay?

I’m so lonely, Mom. I don’t know how to raise these kids. How do I deal with teenagers? How do I potty train my son? Can you give me some advice?

What about menopause? When does that happen? How did you deal with that?

How did you handle losing your mom? Can you give me some words of wisdom? Do you still cry?

I got upset yesterday. It was such a long day and so cold. By evening, I was completely exhausted. The baby grabbed my face and said, “Don’t cry, Mommy. Don’t cry. It okay. Don’t cry.” And Jay was just annoyed by me. How do you not kill your husband when you’re overwhelmed and handling everything by yourself and he acts like like a fucking asshole?

I miss you so much, Mom. I miss your smile. I miss that pork thing you used to make with that sauce that used orange juice. I miss your chicken kiev and chicken supreme and mac and cheese. I even miss your grilled cheese sandwiches, which is all you cooked in the last year. And I hate grilled cheese sandwiches. But I still miss them.

I should have hugged you more. I’m not a hugger, but you were, and you would have liked that. I’m sorry I didn’t hug you more.

I have to go now, Mom. I’m pretty upset. Talk to you soon? Love you. Bye.