The opening lines of the song spring day are something that translates loosely to I miss you / and in saying it I miss you more which is so simple… and yet.

I don’t remember ever saying “I miss you” out loud to the memory of you, Mom, until today when sat at my desk and cried while a vague and unformed feeling tried to sharpen those words around me into something that still isn’t clear after 22 years. I don’t think it ever will be.

I can’t say it’s you I miss as much as the idea of you. As much as what I’ve been told or imagine a mother is or can be. To miss the mother I haven’t had for so long is to miss an absence, to try to imagine something other than a void to miss in the first place. 

And in the imagining I become the 14 I was when I last saw you, which makes for a weird suspended animation of tweenage memory loop. I find so many of those last memories untrustworthy, tainted by an emotional and spiritual pathology I wasn’t able to challenge then and has caused me to doubt ever since.

Now, the only thing I can say and trust is true is that I had a mother once.

I’ve been told I look just like you and I wonder what else of you is in me. I wonder what shape my memory void would take if I could fill it with the experience of having really known you.

Still, I miss you, and in saying it I miss you more. Happy birthday.