I'm still searching for you...
I had traced you down to a crappy apartment, decrepit and abandoned. I stood before the door, breathing hard, tears at the back of my throat, knowing I was so close. I could smell that tang of your Noxzema cream, your oily Maybelline makeup, I could hear your girlish giggle, your stern mommy voice, I could feel the softness of the grafted skin on your forearm, the roughness of the bottom of your feet. A part of me I don't understand wanted to turn around and forget it all, but a stronger part stepped forward. There, taped to the door, was an eviction notice, and I knew you had slipped away once again.
But in real life, even when you were right in front of me, a mere inches away from my outstretched heart, I still couldn't find you. I remember the last day we were that close. You, in your tiny cut-offs and white peasant blouse, laughing as you danced around in the freezing river behind your trailer. We were visiting you in the summer for the first time. You hadn't even drank anything that day, and yet you were still so far away, your heart somewhere else. Or maybe the problem was just that...there stood your heart incarnate, 3 little blonde girls you hadn't seen in years, and you were faced with all your imperfection and weakness. Is that why you wouldn't look me in the eye?
A new friend looked me in the eye yesterday and casually asked if you had come up to help me after Joseph was born. I was shocked to the core- is it not obvious to everyone else, as it is to me, that a vital part of me is missing? As if you could look at me and see that I have no hand, no leg, no Mother? In the split second after she asked that, the life we could have had flashed before me. And yet the reality is, you would have had to of been a completely different person to live the life I was imagining. I'm okay with that. I don't hold those weaknesses, those imperfections, against you. Not anymore.
I see other people's mothers, still alive, and they can't find them either. They are lost in selfishness, bitterness, immaturity and sickness. I see the near-hidden pain in a few of my friend's eyes, the wounds their moms are still inflicting on them so fresh and raw, and I wonder, who really has it better? My mom is absent and the hole is gaping. Their moms are present and absent, the wounds festering.
After I told the new friend you were gone, and she uncovered the dysfunction of my childhood, she wore the most genuine smile, her blue eyes lighting up with such hope my heart ached, and she said, "And you'll be an awesome mom because of it." Said with such assurance, such finality. "I hope so..." I half-whispered, half-moaned, the fears I have for how your emotional, physical, mental absence throughout my childhood, and your physical absence now, will affect my own mothering.
This world is so broken. Drugs, alcohol, anger, fear, adultery, godlessness, selfishness, death, sickness....so much pain, so much hurt. And at 2 am, I'm hard-pressed for an elaborate, beautiful, inspirational ending paragraph. Life just plain sucks at times. For some people, a lot of the times. There's no denying it. But God...BUT GOD. He came to bind up those wounds, to give a reason for the suffering, to give us HOPE, that beautiful 4-letter word that can inspire the person that is so lost to hold on just a while longer. And even though there will be scars, maybe some big, ugly scars, evidence of the fire we've walked through, we'll be better for it having happened to us.
Let it make us better.