Donna Leskosek writes about being the keeper of memories and histories.
I kept the bits and pieces of the life you missed and lost. I held the memories both good and bad although others hoped that by erasing them they would spare you. They belong only to you. They are only yours to hold or blow like dandelion seeds into the wind. I remember your freckles and the way you pushed your glasses up onto your nose. I remember how you worried you were too tall too short too thin too fat. I knew about the bottles and the needles. I knew you liked pancakes every morning and the way your own bed felt at night. I loved your laugh. So many times I hoped you would only hear my voice, and know there was a safe place.
Your life must feel sometimes like a quilt that’s stitched from different materials, some more worn than others. I have heard from you over the years. Sometimes angry, hating words. Sometimes lost and sometimes found. You had questions as well as answers.
Sometimes I see you and you look the other way. I understand. When you are screaming I am quiet because I know that it has been harder than anyone will ever know. I have shared births, and graduations, weddings and deaths. You have let me in and shut me out. Sometimes there are years of silence and sometimes I hear you every day.
There was the time we rode the roller coaster and the day you cried in my yellow car my brown sedan my white mini van and my blue truck. Your curls blew in the wind when I pushed you on the swings. You liked the chocolate eclairs from the bakery. Sometimes you called late at night and cried or laughed. I knew you stole the Christmas present you gave me. I loved it anyway. You liked to play along the river bank in the August sun that last summer that I saw you. I hated every time I had to pick you up from school with failure in your big blue eyes, and on their faces. I moved your things in suitcases, boxes and garbage bags. To here and there and back again. You asked what you were like at two, when you walked, your first word. Someone wrote them in a book but I have them in my head, I knew you’d want to know someday. You needed promises that weren’t mine to make. There were things I wanted you to understand but they were far too complicated for someone who is three, or eight or twelve or twenty two. She loved you. That is what you needed to hear the most. It is the truth. She did.
I hope that when you need to you still hear me. It will be okay.
I was supposed to save you but I believe that you saved me instead.I understand. Every time your life touched mine, my heart grew. It can hold anything now.