Myself

By: Tanya Pimental

Today, we never forget the tragic events of 9/11.  Everyone remembers where they were and how the day unfolded. For many, the pain and grief that came with it lingers still today.  For me, this day brings emotions that have changed over the years.  I still experience a sort of grief fourteen years later.

My mom passed away on 9/8/2001. Her services were held a few days later.  I stood at the top of the hill across the way from the funeral home and took in the silence that fell over the world that day. The sky is something I will never erase from my memory.  It was as clear as could be.  Not a cloud, not a single thing in the air except crystal blue color.

So as this day approaches each year, I find myself thinking about my Mom. Surely I miss her.  But I hate to admit that what I miss more than her is the the things that never were between us and what would be today.  When she passed, I was comforted to know she’d suffer no more. Her pain was gone.  She’d been sick for so long.  With each year that has passed, I long to have been able to have my mom here.  I don’t know what it is like to call your mom, to ask her for advice, to share the joy of my kids with her. She’s not here to witness me adult and be a mom.

We never had a strong relationship.  She was strict and I wanted to have freedoms and grow up faster than she’d allow.  Those that knew her would attest to the fact that she was harsh sometimes, disapproving, and demanded near perfection.  However, when I look back, I know now that underneath that demeanor, she truly loved me and was proud of me.

About a month ago, I was on the hunt for something in the cluttered hallway closet.  I stumbled across a special keepsake.  My mom always carried a certain newspaper clipping in her wallet.  It was a Dear Abby poem entitled, “Myself.”  I’ve had in all these years and often carried it in this bag pocket or my wallet, but it had gotten lost in the shuffle at some point.  Seeing it there made me smile. It’s in rough shape but, despite it being covered in tape, I’ve tucked it back into my wallet.  The message is just the kind of pick me up I need right now in my life.

Myself
by Edgar Guest

I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
MyselfI don’t want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know 
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.

  

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