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I Carry Your Heart With me

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‘I Carry Your Heart With Me’ was your favorite poem, so your mom told me. She said that it was your favorite poem because your first love used to recite it for you all the time, or whenever she thought the time felt right. She told me that our first time hearing it was at a family christmas party, that is when she knew you two were in love. She said this girl made you the happiest man in the world, and how grateful she was for that. Not any parent could be so lucky as to have someone so special and so right for their child.

    She told me you loved the night sky. How you would go out a night to look at the stars and how sometime she would wake to find you asleep on the lawn. It would make her panic and frantic, she would come so close to calling for help before she realized it was probably a very clear night. She said it was your favorite view because your first grade class went to a planetarium and you had never been so mesmerized. She said you would point out the constellations to her, and even though she could never see the big picture, the glimmer in your eyes was enough. And every night before you went back in, you would recite the line “And this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart,”.

    She told me you came back from college with a different mindset, more mature, old fashioned in a way, a fine young man. She said you could not have been happier with your life, and the only way you wanted to describe it was by the poem “If” so you recited the first stanza. “If freckles were lovely and day was night // And measles were  nice and a lie warn't a lie // Life would be delight // But things couldn’t go right // For in such a sad plight // I wouldn't be I”(Cummings 1-6). She told me you wanted to write about your new philosophy on life, but you hadn’t quite got there. She said you had it all mapped out, on diner napkins, backs of folders, and sometimes on actual paper.

    She told me you had trouble with your father, that he had not been around. She told me that before he left, he was always drunk. She said you took it hard, and that you had so much anger towards him. She said you had seen him again recently, with his new wife, his new family and you had felt more resentment towards him than ever before. She said you came home and muttered “It is funny, you will be dead someday,”(Cummings) and even though that poem was not one of anger, it was the last one she heard you mention. She told me she would always try to make you take it back, surely you would regret it one day. And that she wanted you to be strong no matter how hard and how painful it would be.

     She told me you had gone for a ride. A thing perhaps you should not have done. She said you were raging, she had never seen you so mad. It was late and she could not stop you. She told me she had a bad feeling. She sat up late hoping you would come home and talk it out. She even tried calling you, over and over, before giving up and going to bed. She said a prayer and fell asleep. She said when two a.m. came around and she got the call she whispered, “Where did you go,” and rushed to the hospital. She said having to identify you was the hardest thing she would ever do.

    She told me that a year later it was still just as hard, that she would often wake up at two a.m. thinking she heard the phone ring. It would be a while before her heart beat normal again before she fell back asleep. She told me she didn’t think it right that a mother should outlive her son. She said she was happy to meet me after a year of doing well. She talked about how she was glad you saved lives, and that it is something she has never been more proud of. She cried when she placed her hand on my chest, feeling your heart alive and well.

    I told her I was finally able to get back to doing what I loved. That I was able to catch up in school and excel. I could finally start training to run again. I could finally be me, and be happy. I told her you were my blessing, that without you I may  not still be here. If it weren’t for the surgery I was not expected to live six months. I told her “I [carried] your heart with me… I am never without it,”(Cummings 1-3). I told her this was now my favorite poem, because your heart gave me a second chance.  I told her I would be careful, to keep our heart safe for a long time. I told her I would try some of his favorite things, and things he never got to do. I told her you were still here, and there, scattered around the continent spreading happiness and love, with your gift of life that you had granted so many.

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