You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
A MemoirLarge Print - 2017
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We, the bipolar mother and her bipolar son, fought so often that all of the arguments blended into a terrifying yet predictable ride. My mother and I were roller-coasters on parallel tracks.
In 2015, as my mother lay dying of cancer in her reservation home, she asked my sisters and I to tell only her most trusted friends and relatives...My mother was a spy who treated her own death like a top secret-mission. Or maybe she was like a mad queen who believed only a few of her most loyal subjects deserved to know about her cancer. Or maybe she was terrified.
At her wake and funeral, … I'd wanted to say something epic and honest. But epics are rarely honest, and honesty should never be epic.
But as her son and as perhaps her most regular opponent, I remember only a little bit of my mother's kindness and almost everything about her coldness.
"There are family mysteries I cannot solve. There are family mysteries I am unwilling to solve."
Ah, friend, this world-this one universe-
Is already too expansive for me.
When I die, let my mourners know
That I shrugged at the possibility
Of other universes. Hire a choir-
Let them tell the truth
But tell it choral-
Let the assembled voices sing
About my theology:
I'm the fragile and finite mortal
Who wanted no part of immortality.
But a person can be genocided-can have every connection to his past severed- and live to be an old man whose rib cage is a haunted house built around his heart.
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