Sometimes my words fall and feel better when I’m reading them with hindsight.
There are still a lot of things I need to work on, but this note somewhat speaks about how my recent trip to Taipei helped me sort out my inner world while encouraging me to be kinder to myself. This one was written two months ago, but it still holds a personal truth, something that I would like to remind myself as I try to swim above my claustrophobic and messy internal noise.
February 18, 2018 20:07
Hi, momma bear!
Today is the third month of your passing and it feels… somewhat normal, I guess. Of course I’m still grieving and I will forever feel the pain of my loss but it somehow feels like I can cope with it today.
I don’t feel emotionally strung out, or physically bereft. I’m not melancholic or morose, turning memories over and over in my head; but I’m also not exchanging happy stories with the rest of the family to honor you today.
Just sad acceptance humming quietly on my ribcage.
I think about how I almost got through my recent Taipei trip without grief attacking me. Keyword: almost.
I worried that I would be crying at the airport, thinking how you always waited for me to board my early morning flight (and I always picked early morning flights) and how you patiently waited for my updates upon landing at my destination. I doubted if I could last for several days alone, in a foreign country at that, where I will be reminded of the little things we shared together, even when I was miles away from home. I thought about how hard it would be to quell my instinct of buying you cute little trinkets when you won’t be there to receive them when I get home. And oh, how I almost, almost successfully lasted the trip without crying my heart out. It didn’t occur to me that grief works in the strangest of ways, that it will always hit me like a curveball.
It was on my last night in Taipei, while I was writing out postcards in between folding my clothes and figuring out how to fit all my pasalubong in my hand carry. I decided that I would write you a postcard for every trip I will take from here on out, a small way to honor your memory. Perhaps it didn’t make any sense, but I still want you to have a little piece of my trip.
I remember writing about how sad it is that we can’t send postcards to heaven. There’s even a little teardrop that messed up a part of the postcard and it was just the cherry on top of the cliche ice cream. I would’ve laughed at the whole situation, but this is my life now, not some sappy, badly written, made-for-TV Lifetime movie.
The next day, I’m sitting in an airplane and loading some free onboard entertainment when I notice that they have Bridges of Madison County. I remember how you bought me a copy of that book ages ago and I didn’t understand what it was all about, other than you enjoyed reading it and that you also loved the film version. But of course you would love it, your favorite and my namesake Meryl Streep was the lead actress. I should’ve known it would be a tearjerker, when the film started with Meryl Streep’s character’s children were going through her last will and testament. They later read a letter from their mom, with this phrase hitting me the most:
“As one gets older, one’s fears subside. What becomes more and more important is to be known – known for all that you were during this brief stay. How sad it seems to me to leave this earth without those you love the most ever knowing who you were. There’s something here that’s too strong, too beautiful, to die with me.”
I took a pre-employment exam three days after I came back from Taipei, something that I felt I wasn’t mentally prepared for. By some miracle, I managed to get through it and I left the building feeling like you were holding my hand and successfully pulling me past the first hurdle. You would’ve loved this, that much I’m sure. You would’ve been bursting with pride, even if, in the grand scheme of things, this is probably one of the most basic items in the pre-employment requirements. You would’ve hugged me saying of course I would get through it, I take after you after all.
I’m reminded that a part of you will live on through me and that’s the legacy you left behind. Because there are things in this lifetime that are too strong, too beautiful, to die.