Into the past

Dear Mom,

Been thinking about you a lot the past couple of days. Oh who am I kidding, I am always thinking about you, but it has felt really sad this week for some reason. I’ve broken down a couple of times. I’m not sure why, it’s not like this week is an anniversary of something. It could just be that I don’t have a lot of opportunity to break down, and so it just builds up and every once in a while it comes out, whether it’s an appropriate time or not. Or maybe, it’s the fact that it’s Halloween, and then All Saints Day and All Souls Day. People once believed that the eve of Halloween was the day when the realm of the spirit world was open and the ghosts of loved ones could come visit. El Dia de los muertos is based on that idea. Could it be that there is something to that, that this time of year, this year where the leaves are dying and the Earth is going into hibernation, has a psychological element to it?

Who knows.

In any case, I often think about how, of the many things that really wreck me about your passing, one of them is not being able to ask you how old I was when I did such-and-such a thing, or how it was for you, or how it was for me, etc. Potty training, for example. I’d love to ask you how old I was when I potty trained, whether it was easy, whether it dragged on. These are the sort of things that I doubt Dad would remember, I don’t think dads really retain that kind of information.

But then yesterday I dropped Daughter off at a little friend’s house so she could have a play date while the nanny watched them, and I went to a cafe for a hot chocolate and to write a bit in my journal. It was raining out, but a very weird rain. Only a few clouds, a big rainbow in the sky, and the rain floated down so lightly, rather than in big thuds, that I wondered briefly if it wasn’t snow.

I started to write you a letter in my journal about all this, and then suddenly, it hit me. Maybe it was even you who gave me the answer.

You’d kept journals about me while I was growing up, over my milestones. I even remember reading some of them when I was about ten years old, talking about my younger years. I remember it made me a bit uncomfortable at the time, but Mom, just think, if I could find those, if you saved them…

…they could give me the answers I seek.

I’m not getting my hopes up. I know that I have a box of your journals back in California that Dad is holding onto for me, for the next time I visit, but I don’t know if they are your own journals, or the ones about me. It’s possible the ones about me are gone. I will just have to see when I go back to California the next time.

I also never thought I would read your journals. I thought it wasn’t fair to you. Maybe you wrote somethings that you didn’t mean, out of anger, when I was a difficult eighth grader for example. I thought it would maybe be nice for my children to read them one day, if the paper lasted that long. But now, it looks like I’m going to have to flip through them, just to see.

And I will step back into the past with them.


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