Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
- TITLE: A Proper Burial?
By Frankie Kemp
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I didn’t want to go back there. I didn’t want to be confronted again with the great grief that plagues me. But I did--I did it for you. You wanted that forgotten painting so that you could place it above the mantle of your new home (319.17 miles away from the place that used to be home). I was thrilled you wanted it, but I had no desire to see again what we left behind in our rush to get away. They’re still there--the things you did not want to take because they were just things to you . . . My heart cries, “They’re more than that, though—they are physical evidences of you—little traces of something I once dreamed.”
So many hopes lay tarnished and discarded, left behind in an otherwise empty house! They wait for the bank to pass final sentence and dispose of them. You left behind a lot of your childhood. . . I sorted through and kept some of it, trying to determine what one day might be worth passing down to your children.
Walking through that door, I felt it, again—so much shame, so much loss—but also a desire to do something, anything, to honor what we had. A family once lived there. We laughed. We played. We cried. We fought. We loved. We were confronted, finally, by our own weaknesses, maybe . . . I don’t know. Truth be told, I’m STILL sorting out what happened to us when your dad left.
Strangers are going to pilfer through the remains of our life! How can I deal with all this alone?
I gave up. That’s what hurts the most, I think, that I couldn’t find a way to make it feel like home again and didn’t know how to repair the rubble. I took what I wanted, cleaned up what I could, and finally left the rest for the strangers. How can I blame you? As soon as the way opened for me, I ran too.
All this contemplation drives you nuts. I get it. You want me to put the past behind me and move forward. Trust me, I am trying, but there are still days when grief is the song of my heart.
I’d like to think that you are in mourning, too. You just don’t know what to do with the questions and the pain, so you ignore your grief. You use that scripture you’ve become so fond of, “Let the dead bury the dead,” but I’m not so sure you are using it in the right context.
I miss you terribly. Not simply your physical presence. Believe it or not, I understand that you are men now--even though I’ve called you “boys.” You are pursuing your own lives and places in this world. What I miss is how easy things used to be between us. I miss your trusting me with your hearts. I miss the times when you knew that I was always for you and never against you. I miss the feeling of togetherness.
Some people tell me that this strangeness between mother and sons would have happened even if your dad hadn’t left. That may be true. I don’t know. I do know, though, that whatever “it” is between us feels like a weight I cannot get out from under.
Still, I know we have a common hope. In all the decaying and burying of the dead I find myself trapped in, I have to confess the light that I know is rising in my soul. Our true hope is in Christ. Always has been. He is THE promise keeper and redeemer of our hearts. We live in that redemption every day, regardless of the labels people put on our lives. In fact, He is the one place where all our shame becomes something else. Perhaps, He’s given me an extraordinary permission to mourn even while I press on--and so I write.
I tell life from my perspective, and He breathes hope back into it. It’s beautiful, really. I hope you can see it that way one day. I hope we can talk about it face to face. I hope I don’t have to write letters to you that I don’t send, exposing my telling, instead, to the sorting through of strangers.
Remember always that I love you dearly. Your lives are precious to me--always have been. See you soon.
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