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Early morning on the 5th of January, 2008, my dad came into my room while I was sleeping. I'd been sleeping very lightly, as had been the norm in that house for some time. Just in case. I woke right up, of course. I was prepared for an emergency, ready to get up and go right into action. The night before, I had to remember, had been particularly horrifying in that regard.

Instead I watched his gait and knew the heaviness of it without needing the words. I took a deep breath as he came right over to my bed and sat on the edge next to me, still in darkness.

"Ronnie, sweetie, your mom's gone." He said it with broken finality, like he didn't quite believe it himself. My heart broke even though we'd been expecting it. Not because she had died, no; that part was almost relief considering what she'd been living through. But knowing that so much now fell to the my dad, including the harrowing responsibility of saying those words to his daughter, and the responsibility yet to come of saying it to so many others.

A stone had been lifted from my shoulders, nonetheless. Hers was a short battle with cancer, lasting only the longer half of the year 2007. She had gone from up, healthy, and mobile, to bedridden and near death within the space of one month. My mind still cannot comprehend it, looking back. I went from job to job during that time, just trying to make ends meet and my mind stop cracking.

I remember her helping to pin the zipper in my Ayumi Hamasaki cosplay in July. When I wore it to the convention in December, she was going to be dead in five days. I remember when I came home and showed her the award for that costume, and she couldn't talk at that point, really, but she squeezed my hand so hard and her eyes were smiling.

So the weight lifted away, and it took a very long time for the regret and the reconstruction to take their toll. New challenges came up, more than I can describe. I sabotaged my own friendships as I became a totally different person over the course of three years, leapt into relationships, tried to tell myself I was in love, lost my place over and over again.

By the time I saw my dad's nightmare come true in 2010, the one thing he had always told me he'd rather die than have happen, and realized I couldn't be the one to take care of him... I think that's when everything started to make sense again.

Occasionally I feel sorry over so many things. But I can't. She's gone, and he's changed forever, and we go on.

I usually make this entry an annual salute to how beautiful she was, inside and out, but at this point I don't want to repeat myself. I know she was an exceptional human being.

At work, the last two nights, I've stopped near the end of my shift with a cold chill running through my body to realize the date. I know the memories, and the helplessness I felt.

I don't want to hear anyone else's stories. They really don't help. Sometimes they make me feel like my own is cheapened. No one knows what someone else went through, regarding losing someone. And occasionally people don't want to hear about shared experiences, because experience is often best shared in the climate of the congenial. Right now I'm just thoughtful. I'm just numb. I just want you all to know that it's been four years.

"Supposing everyone goes on the endless road
Over that cloud to the sky
Sooner or later
Be sure to wait for me

And then, we will talk away
With our countless memories

Can you see me from your place ?
Are you watching over me ?

Though this may be a common expression
You stay alive
Always as you are
In my heart"

--Ayumi Hamasaki, untitled ~for her~

And now... another Ayu song that always reminds me of my mom:

January 2012

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