As part of bloggers for peace, February’s writing prompt is to make peace in yourself with someone close to you. One of the options for doing that is by “Writing a love letter to someone in your family who you can’t seem to connect with. Tell them all the wonderful things that they have brought into your life. What events do you remember that you enjoyed with them?” Here goes:

Dear Ma,

You and I became gasoline and fire sometime when I was around middle school age. Every conversation so combustable. In high school, flare ups and seasonal wildfires characterized our relationship, burning out of control every now and then; the verbage sometimes charring each other to the bone. We became smarter when I went off to college, we didn’t talk. We drifted apart, safely dampening all the potential inflammation until one day I came home to find you dying.

You were 48 years young with colon cancer…and still, you were so mad at me. I never knew why we couldn’t get along, and yet, I wasn’t ready to let go of you. I remember sitting in your room, months before you passed – we didn’t talk, I just sat there while you smoked cigarettes. Against everything in my being, I began smoking, just to do something with you, try to make a bond.

I know part of it was I was very different from you. I was a tomboy, outdoors constantly, while you preferred sleeping late and reading books. I was into sports and David Bowie and you loved crocheting, oil painting and Elvis Presley. The night you began letting go, the hospice nurse told me the sense of hearing was one of the last senses to shut down. I couldn’t stop whispering “I love you” into your ears, hoping for forgiveness. But then, you died, and I found myself mad at you for being mad at me – and then dying.

In hindsight (and a lot of therapy), I know that you loved me.

There are many examples to share, but one particular time I felt your love was when I was in grammar school. I was in a bind because I had to complete a project – a winter scene diorama, I had no clue what to do or where to start. I was so unhappy. For some reason the project struck a chord with you, and you helped me out. We ended up making the most beautiful snow scene in the history of 4th grade. I was in awe of your creativity. You had me go outside and find sticks for trees, we used my brother’s matchbox cars to drive down the little roads you made, and we built tiny homes around an ice rink. There was silver glitter everywhere. Then, when you went shopping and found spray snow, and carefully sprayed it “like the wind would” – over everything in the little scene, it was magical to me. To this day, I don’t hate blizzards because deep in my soul I have this very loving memory of you and that project. All it takes is some snow – stuck to the side of a tree, to remind me – that’s your love.

Ma, in so many ways, you made me who I am. Thankfully, my anger is now directed at cancer instead of you. Colon cancer took you so young. Because of this, I have tried to change many of my personal lifestyle habits, even though I’m still mad the disease robbed you from my life. I walk for you everyday. Your illness and your creative spirit inspire and ignite in me a passion for writing this walking blog. I want to be a spark for others, to get them to move for their health. You loved reading – that makes me love writing. And, you were so wonderfully creative and humorous, I should be so lucky to have those traits.

These days, when I walk and talk, in my head of course, your spirit is with me. We don’t fight anymore – there is peace. And… more importantly, there is love- because we are family.

Photo on 2-5-14 at 10.16 AM


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