I’ve felt this one coming for a few days now but today this wave crashed down on me hard. Your old friend Joanne contacted me through Facebook. She wanted to show me a picture of you, and I wanted to see it but I had no clue how seeing that picture would make the wave swell like a giant water monster with outstretched arms and then crash down with all its might closing its arms and bear hugging me under water until I had no air left. In the picture you are sitting on a raft with a river in the background. Your head is very slightly tilted and you have the biggest smile on your face. Your smile. That’s what did it. Your smile is so huge and so genuine. It was your smile that many people remember the most about you. It’s what people tell me to comfort me. They say I have your smile, but I know I don’t. No one can possibly compare. Even on your darkest days you smiled. If you had been crying all day and a stranger asked you what was wrong, you would probably vaguely tell them and then say “oh well” and smile your huge smile. It captivated people. No one could understand it. It threw people off guard and made them want to be your friend. People wanted to be around you.
I wasted so many years being so mad at you. I blamed you for every single bad thing that ever happened to me. It was so easy to blame you. You were so sick with addiction you really had no idea how much I needed you. I sometimes wonder if you really did know and maybe you wanted to change or do something about it but you just didn’t know how or it was too hard to figure out what the first step was. Maybe you figured the damage was already done. You knew you couldn’t take care of me when you and dad got divorced so you never fought him for custody of me. You told me that yourself but I never fully understood why. I only needed a lap to crawl into. I only needed you to hold me. I only needed you to love me. Realizing that you really did love me all those years absolutely tears me apart inside. Finding little jewelry boxes in your storage unit that have written on them “I love you mommy” make me want to break down and never recover from it. Finding a musical bird statue that I gave you when I was like 5, with only 1 wing broken off of it make me want to throw it a hundred yards away and watch it smash into a wall. I treated you so bad. It’s funny how Lori always encouraged me to tell you how mad I was at you before you died so I didn’t have any regrets or leave things unsaid. I started writing you a nasty letter and then threw it away. You know what my regret is? That I didn’t tell you how much I loved you! Under all that anger was such an intense love for you that I completely forgot about until you died. I started remembering it when you got sick but it never really came all the out until I saw you laying there dead. Fucking dead.
I have to go to sleep, I’m bawling my fool eyes out and I am going to be a swollen mess tomorrow. Love you.