Words for my mother

you like to tell me

that whenever I’m

away, Foreigners’

“waiting for a girl like you”

somehow seems to

find its way onto your

car speakers. Little

do you know that being

away from you makes

every 80’s power ballad

we’ve sung together

play on repeat, in the

quiet parts of my

heart that haven’t yet

learned how to be without

you. There is no noise

quite like the silences

where your voice should

be in the retelling of every

story; no pain quite like the

knowledge that it has to wait

til the next morning to

reach your ears. There are

no words for

the ache

when no one else’s hugs will do,

no words for the

four month wait that sits

between each chance for them.

They say that this life we lead,

of loves and homes across oceans

and continents, means that we

will never truly be home again.

I don’t think that’s true. I carry

home with me every day, in a

heart that you grew and that

swells each day with the marvel

that is this life you have helped

me create, in this life that you

sometimes have to love from afar.

But I am always, always loving you:

from the next room, from London;

through fear and through joy.

As with all things, you taught me

how, and I cannot help but revel

each morning at this world: at the

person I have become that you

taught me to love, even when it

is difficult, to be my own best

friend first. This, I find difficult,

because you were my very first

best friend, and have never

once stopped being the only

person I will always turn to.

What a gift it is, that somehow,

somewhere, I was given you,

and you were given me.

How incredible that people

who have never met you

already call you Queen

Irene, because even in the

stories that I tell on a loop,

your love, kindness and

infinite optimism radiates,

and I am so blessed to

have been raised by a woman

as much like the sun as

she is human, a woman

somehow containing just

a little bit more stardust

than the rest of us. Your

kisses have forever stained

my cheeks with the cosmic blush

of the universe, and in every

step I ever take I am blessed

that I carry you with me,

to each end of this world and

back, always taking my steps

because you taught me how.

ps. A small edit, as I forgot to write it explicitly — happy birthday to my darling mother, my very best friend. I love you always.


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