Complicated Mourning

My brother, I am told, sent a card that suggested peace, grace, and love. I chose a blank one with a linen-like finish and later stamped a black butterfly onto the front. I keep meaning to shade the wings, which are patterned with hints of a Munk mosaic, though less urban, more tribal. Each time I try and write a message on the inside, never getting further than “Dear Mom,” I burst into tears. This inevitably summons my kids into the room by virtue of some congenital radar that compels children to show up at the worst possible moment. It’s the same system that sends my five-year-old scurrying down the hall in fits of tears and snot just as my rear end descends onto the toilet seat. It’s uncanny.

I don’t know how to explain my tears to my children anymore than I understand them myself. They know my father has just died,…

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This post was first published May 2011. The stamp used in the art is by Michael Strong Rubber Stamps.