her voice

My father still has my mother’s voice as the message on the answering machine.  Normally, I hang up as soon as it begins, but last night, I needed to leave him a message.  I had to listen to the entire message all the way through, and I started crying.

Her voice, God, her voice just punched me in the gut.

When does grief stop throwing punches?  When am I no longer shadowboxing with myself?  With my grief?

It is a consistent pain, constant and neverending.  Even when it’s not there, it’s there, under the surface, like a tumor spreading tendrils of tissue, attacking healthy flesh.  It affects everything I do.  I think of things in terms of Before and After: Before she died, and After she died.  I consider actions in terms of this: the last time this action occurred, Mom was still alive.

And then her goddamn voice, from the answering machine.  That punch in the gut that still reverberates.

I am bruised still.

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