On Grief and Gratitude
Yes, I am. I am petrified of leaving our house. I’m frightened. I wanted so much to get away from the enmeshment and responsibility that came with being my mother’s daughter, and being home.
After the semester I had had last spring, where all the emotional skill gaps I managed to stay aloof to for 25 years kicked me right in the shins, at work and in my living arrangement, all I wanted was to come home, and be home with me mother.
I felt like I was coming home with the whole family waiting for me. My grandmother’s birthday, June 7th, fell on a Thursday. It was the day the Ancestors come home, according to Ifa tradition. On this day, I was coming home.
Not only did I feel like I was coming home to my ancestors, but also that they were coming home with me. I was bringing them home in my muscles and in my breath. I was happy. It was an integration of the selves, past and future into the present.
When I woke up later that day, after driving sum 9 hours through the night in a 20-ft U-Haul truck, unpacking it, dropping it off and hitching a ride on the back of a bright blue motor bike in my short shorts and cowgirl hat, I cried in my mother’s living room, again on her front porch, and again at her feet.
I was so thankful that I had her to come home to. She was my home. The only home that felt constant.
Now, 8 months later, it’s my home. My house. And I don’t have her to come home to when the semester is through this time.
I’m scared. And I haven’t cried in weeks.
I’ve learned that I can be my own safe place, though. Maybe some part of her knew I was ready to learn this, or simply that it was high-time I did.
How do I give thanks to the house for holding me, and giving me space to create home?
How do I say thank you for the time it took and the grit I built going though mine and my mother’s — and my grandparents’ — things?
How do I appreciate the landscape of lives and lineage I’ve travelled in this short period of time to finally find home in myself? Literally, what do I do before I leave here?
How do I celebrate / grieve more of my mother, and the home she created for me, even though I didn’t really know how to appreciate it until, apparently, just in time?
(I have another breakdown in me, I know it, ready to blow my cover story that I’m ready to get back to the world. I rather it happen while I still have just the house plants around and not two human housemates.)