Steel My Mother-Heart

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Tomorrow morning, I board a westbound flight heading back to Utah. I haven’t been back in over two years which means it has been two blessed years of not worrying if I would run into you, your parents, your siblings, your friends, your teachers, your boss, your neighbor, your Young Women’s adviser, your Sunday School teacher, your ex-boyfriends, your current boyfriends,  or anyone else that might recognize you in me.

It’s happened before – several times –  and every time I am sent into a tailspin. Oh, those unknowing souls continue on unknowing; I don’t care to educate them that “this girl I know from [insert name of your home city] looks just like you, you two could be twins!!!!” is actually my daughter, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, fruit of my age-old mother pain.  But I know. Boy, do I ever know.

So I am coming home tomorrow. The road from the airport to The World’s Best Sister-in-Law’s home takes me past your home. I wish there was some other way to get from point A to point B tomorrow, but there isn’t. There is no other way to get through but past your city that sits like a toll keeper into the valley, extracting a heavier and heavier fine from my heart with each passing year. I cannot even begin to tell you how many thousands of times I have had to grip the steering wheel, avert my eyes, purse my lips, and steel my heart against the upsurge of grief as I drive past.  There, there beats the first chamber of my mother-heart…It feels like death by a thousand small cuts.

So I am coming home tomorrow. An expatriate, a squatter, a refugee in the shadow of the mountains I love. And I will do what I have always done for the last 18 years…drive right through your little town and after a sharp intake of air I will remind myself to breathe, just breathe. In and out, over and over. Breathe, just breathe.

4 thoughts on “Steel My Mother-Heart

  1. I have had to drive through my son’s town once. Know exactly what you are talking about!

    So, yeah. Just breathe. Sometimes that’s all you can do…


  2. Breathing isn’t always as easy as it should be, but it can do us good. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you, but my thoughts and best wishes go with you. I admire you.

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