Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A letter I cannot send

I dreamed about you last night. It wasn't like the other dreams. You were sick, but you were there. You were talking to me and not dying. I was telling you about all of the dreams I've been having about you, about your illness and death, about how I wonder if you would have been able to get better if we could just keep you alive. I was crying and you were there and you held my hand. We were sitting across a table from one another, like we did at Panera that time we went shopping together. It was the last time we went shopping alone. Maybe it was the last time you went shopping.

I was able to talk to you, with you. We were talking about the things that worry me, that make me upset. You were there, and I could almost smell you. Maybe it was the bag of your clothes in the next room that I was smelling. Maybe it was the smell of your perfume on the clothes on my bedroom floor. When I try really hard, I can still smell your skin and the warmth of your neck when you held me.

I'm reading a book, a memoir of sorts, written by a woman whose mother is dying. The book isn't about her mother's ovarian cancer, but it plays a major role. I get so angry that she got to keep her mother until she was 41, and I lost you at 24. I can't believe her mother survived almost six years, and I couldn't have you for four. She had a baby in time for her mother to meet it, to love it, to be a grandmother to it. Why couldn't I?


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