An upclose photo of a woman looking down with her eyes closed

i survived my first decade without you.

though it feels like just yesterday

you helped me undo all of the labels and titles

i slapped to my identity

to ease my ache for affirmation and likability.


your words,

wrapped in the love that only you could offer,

always reminded me that i was enough.

i was your daughter.


i made it through college and all of its extracurriculars,

but i really could’ve used your wisdom

when it came to relationships, in particular. 


i pursued big goals and dreams;

i ignored what they said about age.

i made sure to chat with you before every performance.

yup, even the ones on the “Great Stage.” 


but that ache i mentioned was chronic,

the one only your voice could soothe.

how could i love my life but not me?

i questioned if your words were true.


i searched high for my truth

but had to fall to meet my own gaze.

it’s funny. you always said,

“God works in mysterious ways.”


because I’d reached the point

where I wanted to just disappear.

your voice wasn’t there anymore

and doing it by myself was my fear. 


as i sat in my hole,

hours on days with my thoughts,

unlearning toxic habits

and working through my haunts.


i heard my voice, finally,

without the condescension and darkness,

and decided it was something

i needed to nurture and harness


with warmth and grace

and, of course, love.

without labels and definitions

to allow room for me to evolve.


i now realize your words,

wrapped in the love that only you could offer,

were never meant to undo,

but rather to give my voice a bolster.


i smile when i think of the hummingbird you sent,

once i came above water,

to remind me that you’re always there.

that i am enough.

i am your daughter.


i survived my first decade without you,

and i’ve learned many things to be true.

but i know, without a doubt,

i made it because of you.

Have you lost a parent or loved one? How do you deal with losing someone close to you?

Image via Raisa Zwart Photography

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