Lessons

By LaKrista Vantrece

 

My Mother always told me

people will not always be kind.

She said some would take advantage of me

without a second thought.

 

My mother always told me

fights with siblings were never as serious as they seemed.

She said I’d donate a kidney

if they ever needed one.

 

My mother always told me

friendships will come and go

she said friends would not always be

there when I needed them

 

What my mother should have told me

is people are often cruel

they would lead me to believe

I was worth less

 

She should have told me

that after being used

I’d want to crawl out of my skin

because no amount of water

could wash away the feelings of those hands

 

My mother should have told me

seeing the tubes, wires, and pumps force

life into his limp body

would make me want to rip out

my still-beating heart

to avoid the inevitable questions concerning

pulling plugs and giving up

 

She should have told me

that none of my friends would even call

leaving me to face death alone

with the weight of the world pressing down

upon my bruised and battered shoulders

 

I wish my mother had told me

the feelings of isolation and despair

would leave me stranded

on an island where the senses

dull until I questioned the truth

of every happy memory

 

If my mother had told me these things

I might have listened to her

when she told me

take nothing for granted.

 

My mother always told me

One day I would understand unconditional love.

She said it would have to wait until I had kids of my own

 

What my mother did not realize

was that I already knew unconditional love.

I felt it when she let me cry in her bed at 6 am

because I was hurt and angry.

I felt it in the hospital waiting room

When my parents held back tears for my sake

although they’d been too distraught to remember to put on socks

I felt unconditional love

every time my mother sacrificed her happiness

to ensure my own.

 

My Mother always told me about love

but what she should have said is

“this is love”

 

 

 

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