My Dearest Mama: A Posthumous Love Letter
I know, I know-It's been far too long since I've written, but you undoubtedly remember how lax I can be at penning my thoughts. Oh, Mama, I'm sorry, but since your death in '88, it's been terribly hard communicating with you on paper. Or computers-yep, they have these things everywhere now, and I am enjoying my own, believe it or not. Just got one this year, as a matter of fact, and I can't believe what they can do-you would have loved these machines. I know how much you loved reading, and they have these electronic books, Mama-you don't have to hold paper in your hands any more, the book is actually readable on a hand held machine! I'm not sure you'd like them, though, considering how you loved the library and all.
How are you doing, Mama? I mean, what's it like? Oh, jeeze, i know you probably can't tell me, but as you recall, I am one curious daughter. Your only child-wow-what a blessing it was to have you as my mother. I know we went through some hard times, but that's life, right?
The reason for this letter is that I didn't quit smoking when I wanted to, Mama, and it kills me because it killed you. I hated it when you smoked when I was a kid, but I picked up the damned habit in high school. I always wanted to be just like you-so beautiful, so glamorous, so high-society. I thought booze and cigarettes were symbols of that sort of life, and took to them both very eagerly. Back in the 50's when you started smoking, I bet it was all the rage, and you weren't 'in' if you didn't smoke. Now, Mama, it's the opposite, because the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, and all sorts of agencies, have found that smoking will most certainly damage you-if not kill you.
But, Mama, it's such a bitch to rid myself of this stinking habit. Sorry for using that word, but I'm an old gal now, and tend to get away with such language! It's a hoot, really. But anyway, I wanted to write because I just can't seem to do this thing on my own, and remember how you were always my best friend. Boy, how I miss you. It's been 21 years now, and I can still remember your face. Now it's my face, Mama.
God, I hate to ask you this, but what was it like to have cancer? I know that it hurt, because I took care of you much of the time, but what was it like in your head? You never wanted to talk about cancer or death, and who was I to force the issue? Mama, what was it like when you found out? Did you cry? I don't think I ever in my life saw tears fall from your eyes. I can't imagine those words being uttered to me. Did you hate yourself? Your past? I'll bet you feared your future. Well, that's where I find myself right now. I don't think I have the big 'C' yet, but I suppose I could get it any day now...because I still smoke. It just won't let go of me, or I won't go of it, Mama. Why did you continue to smoke after your diagnosis? That really angered me, Mama, and I'm sorry it's taken so long to tell you so. Oh, that's really not fair. I imagine you'd change things if you could.
Even though it's incredibly difficult to bid farewell to you again, I must. But before I do, could you manage somehow to show yourself to me one more time and tell me how to do this thing? I'm assuming, of course, that you're wise now that you've been on 'the other side' for so long. Just teasing, Mama, I just wish that I could feel your arms around me once again, and to hear your lovely voice call my name.
Maybe, just maybe, you can give me a hint-or some strength-on how not to die.
With all my love,