I was cleaning out my closet when I came upon a carefully folded envelope with a two page letter inside. It was a “goodbye” letter from my mom, given to me a year before she died. I was moving across the country and she wanted to give me some encouragement. In the wake of her death three years ago, it reads with a little more gravity.
I’ll spare you the details of her letter, the hot tears hitting the paper, and the way I crumpled on the floor as I read it. The most important thing is that her words resonate even stronger now. I’m finally at a point in life where I feel confident that I’m a positive force for other people, that I’m self sufficient, and that I’m a decent person. Maybe even a good person.
Three years ago today, my mother died suddenly.
There was no warning, and I didn’t get to say goodbye. We didn’t get to say goodbye. My sister and I are still picking up the pieces.
Here she is, teaching me videogames and the art of biting one’s tongue in concentration.
I wanted Tears Are In Your Eyes, by Yo La Tengo, played at her funeral. She loved this band. I wrote a lengthy ode to my mom, but couldn’t read it myself, crying too hard. Turned out, the pastor was too choked up to read it clearly either. And then this song came on, washing over us like a tidal wave.
This is one of the most deeply felt songs in my life. There’s a titanic gravity attached to this song now, but it was always one to gut me with this one specific line. A line that my mom said thousands of times to her kids, in varying words, throughout our lives. I’m going to share it below.
Although you don’t believe me you are strong,
Darkness always turns into the dawn.