Hello, AlliCat! (Yep, you officially have a nickname, if you’re a part of my tribe).
16 years ago, today, exactly. The day after she took her last breath…
It’s time that I heal, fully and with so much care and love. She would want that for me; I know this to be true.
Now that I know my digestive system intimately and am consistently losing this weight off my bones, it is time to heal my soul. And mend the rest of my broken heart. I’ll never fully heal from the loss of my mother…that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the inner most depths of my soul and all those little cracks in my heart that have accumulated over the years…the parts that went black 16 years ago; Ashy, much like the embers of a fire that have burnt themselves out over time.
This part of my heart, still smoking, but only slightly, is ready to be reignited and to glow, ablaze from the strength and courage it will take for me to share this story out loud.
I’ve realized, honestly, that if I don’t just tell someone how I feel, I will never fully heal the parts of my soul that NEED healed, in order to be the BEST version of myself…inside and out. Transformation is so much more than a physical appearance. The mental is just as important.
The way I share my personal truth, is through storytelling. I close my eyes and write everything down – the more detail the better – to paint an accurate picture.
I want to remember with all that I am, so that I can open that little brown box and face everything I’ve been hiding away, all these years.
This is Chapter One of an on-going Written Series I am calling #MyBlushStory.
This is The Little Brown Box.
I woke suddenly and immediately felt something wet and cold fall from my damp, matted, frizzy curly hair. Sweat. I was having a nightmare. I sat up sternly, abruptly and felt an immediate stab in my left ribcage. I had been crying, I remembered. Crying because I couldn’t breathe, until I couldn’t breathe. It was like a bad movie that kept playing one specific scene in my mind, over and over, like there was a scratch on the disc causing it to repeat. A different kind of torture, hearing your mother take her last breath over and over again. Rushing to her bedside, a hospital bed hospice had set up in the two story living room, in the home my father built just for her a few years before she was diagnosed with cancer. Fucking cancer. Rushing to grab her hand, telling her I loved her so much, feeling her gently squeeze my hand and breathe in, slowly, one last time.
I had been sitting in the informal dining area adjacent to the living room and directly next to the kitchen when I felt my heart stop beating, literally. I struggled to breathe, gasping for air, pulling my hands to my throat. I was confused and scared. Why can’t I breathe? Brandis! Breathe! I immediately looked over at my mother, and suddenly I knew. She also couldn’t breathe. Mommy!
Hospice had set up a hospital bed for her in the living room because my mother insisted in being in the room with the most windows and daylight. She insisted in being in the same room as her heart rock, which was embedded in a floor to ceiling natural stone fireplace. This particular rock was thin and took the shape of a heart. It held the carving “T. T. Loves D. R.” and was something they found while dating. They were high school sweethearts and had an incredibly romantic love story, I thought. I hope to have a love like that someday. He was her everything and she, his.
She smiled so big and told anyone who listened that this was her favorite room of the house. It was also the room where we would celebrate my twentieth birthday, her forty-second birthday. Just four days apart, it was always something we held dear to our hearts, much like the unspoken language we had naturally created throughout the years. Finishing each others sentences and feeling each other’s emotions, even when we were miles apart, was something incredible. We were connected. We were the best of friends. This year was different as it was the very last time, exactly one week before she passed away, that we would celebrate our birthdays together. It was her favorite room in the house, the same room I now deemed impossible to step foot in.
She deteriorated very quickly, I remember. One day she was smiling, the next she was crying out in pain and vomiting her medicine back up instead of keeping it down. I had to help hold the bowl for her to puke into and remember feeling numb all over and thinking this cannot be real life and it certainly isn’t fair. Fucking cancer.
I wiped the sweat from my forehead, shivering. Why am I so cold? Oh that’s right. She’s gone. The bright light that filled this home was gone. The warmth of her presence, her smile, her embrace…gone. She’s gone. I can’t believe she’s gone.
I managed to roll to one side of my bed, placing my left foot on the cold, bare, hardwood. My eyelids felt weird, like they were sticky and so very heavy. I rubbed my eyes with my nuckles and cried out in pain. My eyes were so swollen, they burned. What the hell? I can’t see! I croaked, my throat dry and hoarse. I reached for my glasses and shoved them onto my damp face, hoping I could see something. I did. I saw a brown box, sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor. It was sitting alone, with nothing nearby. I sat for a moment, taking a deep breath in, holding it until I felt dizzy. And when I finally released that breath, I fell to the floor, immobile, tangled in my bed sheet.
Everything went dark.
To Be Continued, next Tuesday…
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