Staying up late does not fix my problems, but lack of sleep makes me slightly dizzy, and that makes me forgot things. Mostly why I walked into the kitchen, or where I put down my iced tea, but whatever.
My Ma-Ma died yesterday. I got my charm bracelet tattoo with her. She used to write me letters and color out pictures so I could read them before I knew all the words she used. She’s the woman who got me a real pearl necklace when I turned 16 and the woman who sent me hope after Preston raped me. I loved her more than I can explain, and there are some things that we never understood about one another.
Death takes the members of my family slowly, as I suppose he does to us all. Somehow when it happens to me, it feels much more personal.
I admired my Ma-Ma. I went to her for advice and hugs. After therapy sometimes I’d drive to her house and she’d hug me, without really knowing why I was upset or invading with too many questions. She’d just hug me, and envelope me in that old lady perfume smell, and hush my tears like she did when I was a child and didn’t want to leave her.
I feared my Ma-Ma. The judgement she could have passed, and may have passed, and the judgement I know she did pass. Wanting to make someone proud gives them power, and power held by my family scares me. It’s rarely gone well for me. I wanted to make her proud, though. I wonder, if she saw all I am, would she be now? If she saw the book I’m writing, would she be proud then? If she saw how conflicted I am about everything in my head, would she be ashamed, or love me anyway?
Her birthday card got sent back. And I didn’t make the extra effort to call her this year. I hoped a card would be enough, because my phone works so rarely here. She died thinking I’d forgotten her birthday.
This is what regret feels like. I don’t like it.
And while it seems that my world has stopped and every little thing reminds me of her, I have things to do. I have travel plans soon, and going home now must be fit in beforehand. Rent must be made for next month before I leave town. If only walking through the grocery didn’t make me think of the Sausalito cookies she kept in that clear glass jar on her counter. If a tabby cat sitting in its window across the alleyway didn’t bring Fred to mind, and how Ma-Ma cried every time she had to leave that cat for a cruise.
She loved me my whole life. She didn’t always get me, and she sure as hell didn’t always agree, but she always loved me. And she’s gone. I feel a hollow spot from the love she used to send out.
I miss her.
I want to go home and hug her again. But I won’t get to.