A Letter of Apology

May 1, 2012
By ajkerensa SILVER, Winona Lake, Indiana
ajkerensa SILVER, Winona Lake, Indiana
6 articles 4 photos 3 comments

Black beads on a necklace slide through my fingers

As I contemplate your life, or rather,

All I don’t know about it.

It’s not my fault, really,

That I don’t know if you had a happy childhood,

Or how you met your husband,

Or your favorite color,

I never knew you,

You never knew me.

As I hear the older members of the family talking

About your marriage

Or the way you raised your children

Or the kinds of clothes you wore,

I can’t help the feelings of

Guilt, inadequacy,

I berate myself for never asking, never filling in the gaps,

Only picking up the scraps from what others happened to say.

I feel responsible for your memory,

I carry your name,

Your face,

Maybe even your struggles, if I only knew what they were.

Yet I leave that responsibility to those older, wiser,

What right do I have to understand you?

Our lives never touched,

I am too young

Too young to have my head filled with misery of one

I never knew.

Your life was tragic, from what I’ve heard,

Filled with sadness and shattered dreams,

And it’s sensitive,

Something that fills the room with cold and the color gray

Something that needs to be discussed just enough

So that it isn’t fully forgotten.

I see the anxiety and long buried bitterness

Toward those select guilty members

Dredged up from the depths of the mind

Reflecting in the eyes,

And I’m afraid to press the matter,

Afraid of stirring up problems so carefully avoided for so long.

I am young.

These matters don’t concern me.

But I need to ask,

To discover the story before it is too late,

Before those that knew you become only a memory

Like you,

Except will your memory no longer exist,

Just these black beads, sliding through my fingers,

Forever reminding me of what is lost

And will never be found.

The author's comments:
I wrote this to my grandmother who died when my dad was 14, and so I never met her.

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