she needs the layers to cover her fears
every single one of them demanding
that she put on a happy face despite the years
of failures and disappointments, never ending
and every night as she takes them off, one by one,
she tells herself that tomorrow will be better,
maybe one day, all her nightmares will be gone,
and life can finally be kind to her.
I’m just a tourist in this lifetime
figuring out the secrets one day at a time,
where anything can happen,
where things have no rhythm nor rhyme
where good deeds often go unnoticed
and the bad ones get their rewards
where we sleep fitfully in beds we’ve long made
where there’s no turning back, only forward
where life can flash from beginning to end
in a moment that can become too brief
For we’re all just tourists in this lifetime
Filling our itineraries with happiness, joy, and inevitably, grief.
the masks have to come off
for she can’t wear them anymore
each moment spent living a lie
she’s losing sight of the shore
drowning in the stories she tells herself
every single day
not a moment of respite awaits her
just another soul led astray
by the you-should’s and the you-have-to’s,
of what is expected of her
to be the good daughter, mother, wife
all the while inside, she feels herself shatter,
and every day that she tells herself
everything is going to be okay
is another day that her soul dies another death
but she’s long run out of lies to say.
November has always been about passages for me, life changes and transitions. I always wondered if my own clock was more in tune with the earth than it was with the Gregorian calendar, though now I just realized why I feel such loss around this time of year.
Five years ago, my best friend passed away after a 2 year-long battle with ovarian cancer. Through it all, she never complained. She told me once that she had two choices – complain about the things that weren’t good or be grateful for the ones that were. So she chose the latter, choosing to surround herself with white light no matter the challenge.
Today, while my son was going through his swim therapy, I perused through her old email messages to me, the only things I have to remind me of her kind words no matter the challenges she was faced with at that moment.
She died on 11/6/10 and I remember my last visit to her two weeks earlier when she gave me her massage therapy manual for that’s where we’d met back in 1997 and I’d lost mine a long time long before then.
A week later she called to tell me to keep writing even though I was too ashamed to tell her the truth – that I’d stopped writing 8 years earlier. She also told me to watch my weight and be kind to myself.
And while I haven’t exactly watched my weight that well, I have resumed writing – as you all probably have noticed. And today I ordered two copies of the paperback version of the book I dedicated to her, Finding Sam – a surreal experience that’s more surreal than when I ordered my copy of my second novel, Loving Ashe.
And even though being a writer navigating through the new social media can be scary, I have to remind myself that like Pam, I have two choices. Complain about the things that aren’t exactly going great (it’s all perspective as well) or be grateful for the ones that are – like health, family, and life in general.