My mom has been gone from this world for almost two months now. I have this nagging sense that I have to write down all her stories – everything she ever told me, everything she taught me. Because I can’t bear for whatever legacy she has to be lost. To write it all will be cathartic, heartbreaking, and nostalgic. It will be painful. I don’t know what to expect. All I know is that I have to start somewhere, and it might as well be with something I love.
She always loved to play cards. She would play any game, but wasn’t super proficient at any of them – the thing we played the most was rummy, and it was probably gin rummy but who knows because I think our family either forgot rules, enmeshed games together, until there was just a game that we knew how to play but whenever we would try to bring someone new in, they didn’t know what we were doing. She was super competitive, but was not a sore loser. As she got older, she would love it when my sister and I would be with her for the holidays, and we started having this annual card game where I would create a ridiculous prize out of whatever I could find in the kitchen: A paper plate, a fancy napkin torn up as streamers, something I could fashion without hot glue. She loved it. She genuinely won this amazing paper plate award and kept it for several years. Her joy and the laughter we would share during these games was something I do not remember in childhood – it was like the older we all got, the more we were all able to just put away whatever grievances we held against one another and were free to enjoy a spontaneous youth that none of us really had at the time in our lives when were supposed to have it.
Those games were priceless, that memory alive for me. So begins my writing down, my remembrance, her legacy. I wanted to start with happiness. Because if I start at the beginning, the story is just…not. There will be time for all the stories, all the memories, all the writing down. But there’s one thing I need to keep in mind while I search for the words to preserve my relationship with my mother – I can start wherever I want. I have to write it like no one is reading/everyone is reading. I have to lose myself in the words, in the storytelling, and in turn, lose my inhibition of the rekindling of these touchpoints.
Story is sacred; it is all we have.