Dangerous Compassions

Mama grief attack


I was lying in bed Tuesday, crying and missing my mama.  Grief attack–suddenly things came into focus.  I needed her, and she wasn’t there.

A notebook was on the bed, and I started making a list of what I lost when I lost her.  I type it here for you.

  1. stabilizing force–her love helped me feel like I could live
  2. buffer between me and badness, like magic
  3. person who loved me most in the world
  4. she’d do just about anything for my well-being
  5. consistently wanted to hear from me and who I couldn’t Too Much
  6. plan B for if I needed a place to stay–if Ming died or took off, I would always have a place to go
  7. knew me since before I was born
  8. cared about details of my health–she always wanted to know about a doctor’s appointment, fever, headache, stubbed toe
  9. she always wanted to know when I arrived at the hotel or campground so she could relax that I was safe
  10. the softness of her hair
  11. holding her hand
  12. the ease of physical contact with her–how normal it was, to hold her hand, and she wouldn’t misunderstand my motivations
  13. family stories and history
  14. the names she called me–punk, Marie, baby, sweet baby, honey baby
  15. holidays with her
  16. foods she cooked–enchiladas, cookies, cakes, empanadas
  17. she loved my zines and writing–she was the one I wrote my blog for
  18. how good she was at pleasure and enjoying things–fresh strawberries, sunshine, the beach, an orange from the neighbor’s tree
  19. proud of me for my accomplishments–she had my degrees on her wall
  20. connection to other family
  21. connection to my homeland
  22. family photos and other objects
  23. the sound of her voice
  24. txts gmorning and gnight
  25. always wanted to dance with me

I miss her a lot.  Hopefully you have or had someone who loved you that much.


Before the radical mental health meeting night before last, I was thinking about my mom’s hair.  I realized that for my checkin, I could just talk for five minutes straight, about my mom’s hair–how soft it was, how it turned white when she started chemo, when she cut if after my dad died, how she wore it, her relationship with her hairdresser.  Maybe that’s love.  I could make a whole zine about her hair.

I told her she was beautiful a lot.  She was probably the first person I told “you are beautiful and good” a lot–I would put that at the ends of letters, to her.  Seemed important to tell her, especially after my dad died.  Maybe she needed to hear.  I would call her “pretty Mama” sometimes too.

She was the pretty one, the youngest of the sisters, with her crooked smile and boldness.  Oh, Mama.  Where’d you go.  Miss you.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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