Gary Adrian Randall
On the Anniversary of Your Death: Part 3
Today marks three years since your death. I've had three years to get used to the idea of being someone whose mother is dead. And although part of me wishes it weren't the truth, I HAVE gotten used to it. It feels normal now, that you are no longer around when I want to talk. So normal that I can recount the entire story of your death without even tearing up. It's something I never wanted for myself. But, as you say, it is part and parcel of life.
You would also say that you're glad that I'm healed. That I'm supposed to be healed at this point. That it means I have mourned my loss, and now it's time to GET ON WITH IT. And I would hear you, and respect your opinion, and eventually decide that even though I don't technically like it, I do agree.
It isn't my lack of tears that really bothers me anyway. It's the fact that I don't ever want to forget you. It feels like the tears no longer come because I'm forgetting the pain. And that pain became a touchstone to a new version of myself. A version that understood sacrifice and loss. A version of me that was better. I suppose this is selfish in a way, expecting your loss to be the thing that makes me a good person. The truth is, I was always a good person somewhere inside, but your loss is the thing that finally made me realize it.
I'm not depressed this year. Normally I launch into a quagmire of emotions, and don't realize how depressed I am until this day comes, and validates how hard I have been on myself, just another justification.
This year it feels more like a normal day. And that is further proof that I have healed. That I did mourn. And that I have come to the acceptance step in my journey.
I just don't want to forget the little things. Like the sound of your voice, or the way it felt to hug you, or the infinite ways in which we used to talk.
Last week, while looking for my lost birth certificate, I stumbled upon all your letters, and your writing. I found copies of all of your short stories! And your letter to your mother, where you reached out after 30+ years to make amends.
I remember pushing you to write that letter. I remember always trying to force my will upon you, and how your accepted it with graciousness, if not a little impatience.
That, I think, was the most special thing about our relationship. You never treated me like a child. You treated me like an equal. Someone whose words and thoughts you respected. A friend in troubled times. A soulmate.
That, I think, is the most beautiful thing about our relationship. We are soulmates.
Sometimes I worry about my artist's journey. I know you did, too. You worried that I would always be lonely. I worry about the decisions I might make, the dangers that might put me in, the hate I am likely to inspire, just by standing up for what I believe is right. But the other day I did find a measure of comfort in the fact that when I die, I will be reunited with you again.
Not in the heavenly paradise of some made up myth, but in the energy of the universe. The quintessential fountain of life and death. The stardust and magic that make up all the things that matter.
For isn't that the true definition of soulmates? Two kindred spirits whose bond and connection reaches to the very marrow of their souls? Entities bound together by the divinity of creation? People with a common destiny that dwarfs and outlasts the trappings of this mortal coil?
One of the greatest compliments you ever gave me was that I possessed an 'exceptional calm' that brought you peace in your numerous moments of self-doubt and indecision.
Now, you have become part of that exceptional calm. Your death provided me with a foundation of strength, and true confidence. Confidence not based in temporary things like social status, wealth, or beauty.
But found in the face of adversity, tempered in the fires of loss. Standing on that foundation, there is nothing in this world I can't endure.
And when things become overwhelming, and I've lost my line of sight, I can now call on that exceptional calm, and feel you with me there, sitting in silence with your hands on your lap, lending me strength and perseverance. Lending me comfort through the promise that one day our souls will again be free, to play together, and commune within the vastness of infinity.
And then telling me to shed my tears, experience my pain, learn my lessons, and then get up, and GET ON WITH IT!