Would it be better? Worse? Or the same?
Would I have younger brothers or sisters?
Would I have tried to kill myself repeatedly at the ages of 11, 14, 16, and 18+? And did I try that because she was lacking, or because I accidentally felt my grandpa’s (her father’s) boner? Or was it because I was broken, through no fault of our own?
Would I, and my unknown sibling(s), have been a product (or products) of a broken (or unbroken) home?
Would Dad have died at the ripe young age of 57, if he didn’t mourn her (and Vietnam) everyday, by trying to find his salvation in a 7&7?
Would I have been more (or less) comfortable in my own skin?
Would I have allowed myself to enter into an unbalanced and unhealthy marriage?
Would I be better off, or worse off?
Would I know HER better, or worse? And what would our relationship be … now?
Would I (still) be jealous of my family who knew her longer, and (possibly) better, than I ever had a chance to?
(It seems that I’ve become a pseudo-anthropologist regarding her: recreating and dissecting what her life – and mine – might have been like, by piecing together her story from talking to her friends, rummaging through her old clothes and jewelry, reading her old college nursing notes, inhaling the scent of the “then”, and re-visiting photos of a past long, and sadly, gone.)
For so, so, so long Dad and I both lived life stuck in a groove, like a scratchy .45. A refrain, or refrains, stuck on repeat, never to reach that next chorus …
Dad: You Are the Woman
Me: Just Remember I Love You
- Dad: (It's how I feel each time you're close to me)
- Me: (When there's so much trouble that you wanna cry)
- Dad: (It's hard to tell you all the love I'm feeling, that's just not my style … )
- Me (The world has crumbled and you don't know why)
- Dad: (I saw your face and that’s the last I’ve seen of my heart … )
- Me: (When it feels like sorrow is your only friend … )
- Us: (Just remember I love you and it'll be all right. Just remember I love you more than I can say. It'll be all right.)
February marks the month, oh those many years ago, that my mom and my god, that his lover and his wife, left us. I know that the tears shed tonight are residual (and that those tears are actually, and truly, happy tears). No longer are they the tears of despair and loss.
Over the last few years I realized that being stuck in a rut wasn’t healthy for him, or for me, or for us. And that by refusing to live, on both our parts, and by refusing to move on – to live in the past – that we were actually dishonouring her memory.
Granted, the above are the questions of life that I will never know the answers to. And because I have read a shit-ton of Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels, I am no stranger to the concept of parallel universes.
Today, THIS day, I take comfort in the fact that somewhere, in some other place, I still have Mom. And Dad. And I have a potential sibling.
And (potentially) we all have each other.
I understand that death is a part of life. I do. Honestly, and down to the marrow of my bones and soul, I DO understand. I understand, and embrace, that for each death that I (and we) experience, I (and we) rejoice in that life – that life lost and that life lived.
And now? I am finally (finally) able to live that life. And I do it joyfully, and unabashedly.
These mental and physical scars that I carry with me remind me to do so. And whenever I’m in doubt, I look down at my wrists, and I reach down into my soul and I remind myself to live my own life … joyfully.
(This concept of breathing? Of feeling my heart beating through the generations? There are no words for it.)
I WILL steal the stars from the sky ... and no longer will I wonder "what if".
I will LIVE "what next?"