There is a certain disconnect that I suppose is considered a ‘normal’ response to loss of a sudden, and unexpected nature. Loss that carries with it conflicting and ambivalent emotions. It always amazes me who shows up at such times. There are those who come, not knowing what to say or how to be- palpable with their own discomfort and unsure of how to handle anything but stereotypic grief. Surprised by numbness, they are caught off guard- having expected floods of tears. But the tears do not come at command, rather stealing silently when no one is looking, sneaking up to broadside me with unwelcome memory. What am I grieving? Not the loss of the mother’s day card relationship, with all of its sanguine sappyness. Often have I choked on the Hallmark odes to icons of gentle, everpresent madonna-esque matriarchs, who existed for me only in the pages of story books. I could not in honest conscience send such cards- although I dearly wished that I could. Perhaps I am grieving the loss of a dream, a myth, a wish, that so many things could have been different- if only I had been good enough. Having fled in terror at such an early age from the one who should have loved, guided, and nurtured me- the fantasy of ‘mother’ did not become a living reality until I was well into adulthood. God in His infinite mercy has given me friends who have poured their love into those empty spaces, easing the primal pain of those formative years that were filled with such fear and self-loathing. The dialogue of the past 4-5 years could not breach the gulf created by 35 years of silence. But it was a start. I have to remind myself of this. I took the initiative. I broke the cycle. But the child inside, the one buried so long under layers of rationalism, the one who occasionally surfaces dressed in the ragged robes of sorrow, only to wear the comic mask of lightheartedness- that child remembers the dark and hidden spaces between the Hallmark verse.