I remember how it felt.
The touch of your hand brushing through my hair. Making it silkier than it is and making me feel so loved. Specific memories of you flash my synapses. The curl of your chef's thumb. The arch of your neck as you looked down at me when I was little.
You telling me daddy wouldn't love me if I was not a perfect daughter (I wasn't and he still did) so I thought you were a bleeding liar and talked back. Calling me names when I did not come up to your standards. Threatening to disown me for not doing my turn of the laundry loads before I leave the house. Making me subconsciously self-edit myself even years after you've been gone.
But...all families fight.
All mothers and daughters have this struggle over the loosening of the apron strings and the cutting of the cord. I tell myself that our struggle never had the chance to resolve itself. I tell myself that when I see how happily my younger cousins get along with their mothers after all the childhood struggles with the Anthony clanswomen who always had one finger on the the ticking time bomb of their personal stressors.
So...I hate these memories.
Why don't they wormhole us back to memories of a happier, different era? When there was laughter and dimples and happy aromas of chicken peratel and prawn sambal perfuming the kitchen as you cooked. When you laughed and danced your funny dance around the house. When we went on holidays together. Eating your home-made ginger cookies and christmas fruitcake.
The unconditional love you had for me.
Instead, I remember with cold precision, the sight of your warm lifeless body. The curl of your rabbit nose that would never again crinkle when you laugh. The knowledge that I would never ever see you again in the flesh...when I saw the mortician jam twin pieces of cotton wool up your nostrils before the hearse brought you home.
Those 2 pieces of cotton-wool messed me up for years. Years and years and years. They still do if I think too strongly about that day. I can recollect that day with perfect recall. The stump of the morticians boots. The angle of his elbows as he made his jamming motions up your nose. The crooked cord of his apron tied behind his waist. The shock of seeing me standing behind him and his stricken, apologetic murmurs as he came towards me to lead me towards my brother. The white ghastly expression on my brother's face. Those twin pieces of cotton-wool. They mess me up even now.
These memories do not go away. I wish I did not have total recall. I wish that the haze of time and the march of onward calendar dates would erase these memories and wipe them away.
But they don't.
And daily, though I live longer and longer without also dying...those memories come back to twist their blades into my heart. Maybe someday I will be over you. Maybe someday I won't feel guilty. And maybe...someday...I will bloody forgive you for dying.