clean up on aisle whatever — tales of grit & grace

It’s 7:06am, and I’ve just spent the past ninety minutes and two cups of coffee reading old journal entries, many of which were rife with sarcastic wit and lighthearted storytelling. Some, though… some of them were sharp with emotion, making them too much to share. Something has shifted, however. Subtly. Slowly. Sneakily.

A year ago today, my mom died of a misdiagnosed spider bite. It’s less shocking than it seems, as she was already in the late stages of kidney disease. She likely didn’t have more than a year, anyway. Probably more shocking is the truth surrounding us: we didn’t like each other. We loved each other because that’s what you do when you share DNA, but we didn’t like each other.

Perhaps the most shocking of all — for me, at least — is the grief that came with it and my curious need to honor the loss of a woman who didn’t really take up much space in my life. Alone last Christmas Eve, sipping a bourbon at my dining room table, I wrote the entry below. I remember thinking that if I could just make it through the next day, both of our birthdays, and to her death-day, I would have survived all of the “first withouts,” which, again, surprised me because, by my design, more than half of my life had been “withouts.”



teacher | storyteller | bourbon drinker | lover of dogs & words

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