I’m feeling you so vividly right now. The spring is our time, the two of us wild and stoned in the forest clearing. Aries and laughing and twin skirts blowing in the breeze, twin souls like Demeter and Persephone- firmly, solidly mother/daughter too. The sisterhood never took precedence over your wings holding me and your nest making roots in my past. When you first fell ill you held us- two adult children with a head on each shoulder curled in your arms, quiet for a few moments, startled by the fright and then deciding as one to to laugh and be blind brave warriors staring at impossibility.
Spring is time to remember life, and it’s always that spring day like a film of us- a couple years before you died. I’d been home long enough to feel real again. My hair had grown back. The next year you would brush and braid it like you did when I was small. We were in the forest at Our Shelter. It is, that day, a Dionysian ampitheatre. It is one of our birthdays but it doesn’t matter which; they are one day and twenty-three years apart and after I’m grown we celebrate them together. We are high and buzzed on contraband beer in the state park. Everyone around me is my mother- you, my aunt, and your best friends. I’m the youngest one there by a whole generation and I’m at once one of you and your collective baby. I run around the field like a girl, and then we all swing together at the playground.
Later our shelter is a familiar temple where we remember you (your ashes flew into the wildflowers behind the wall with the hearth) and when Bonnie Raitt’s voice comes through the stereo it is like your voice speaking to me and my knees fall out and the Xanax I took to numb me falls to the bottom of me and I’m suddenly, starkly clear and sober and in deep, unspeakable pain.
This is the moment Bu says he fell in love with me, or the moments after when I raise back to my feet and go out in the field again and read you a poem from The American Night. He will hold me aftwerwards on random nights when the foggy thing that allows me to cope with the grief lifts and the reality of your death pierces me and I cry so hard it shakes the bed. He’ll watch and witness as the nights very slowly space apart until there is a mellowed, mature sadness that is livable. He’ll be such a part of my comfort I’ll worry in a tiny voice deep down if I could have lived this experience without him. He’ll hold my hand and then bind his hand to mine, then fill me with your grandchild.
She is the anchor to the present that finally pulls me out of false time, where I was stuck in the small part of life when you were less you, losing yourself slowly to the cancer. My daughter pulls me into now, and in doing it helps me find the parts of then that are healthy and colorful and good. She brings you into me like a gentle, welcome possession and this makes my self more solid and strong. Somehow the two of you hold me between past and future and this is a picture of where when who I am in time and blood.