I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to put into words what has been going on in my head and my heart. The weight on my chest. The quiet, yet high-pitched ringing in my ears, constantly reminding me of the blast.
“How does it feel when a bomb goes off?”
“What are the symptoms of shell shock?”
These Google searches led me to sites ranging from party games to Hiroshima, but nothing close to what I have been feeling. A confusion so deep that it blurs all the other emotions like a fog hovering over the debris. Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t a bomb that fell over us that day. Maybe it was more like a volcanic explosion. Years of secrets, rage, and fire brewing, brewing.
“There are several different causes for a volcano to erupt which all fundamentally come down to a pressure change within the volcano which forces the magma to overflow the chamber it is held in.”
That chamber was my mother’s heart.
For as long as I remember, I knew that my mother carried many secrets that weighed heavily on her. In recent years, I even thought I had figured them out. But I had no idea. None of us did. No one saw this coming.
The thing is, despite having spent her whole life shielding everyone from the truth, my mom is finding her words. Perhaps that is why I cannot find the words to write about this. It is not my story to tell. But I had to say something. I could not contribute to the silence.
I used to fear silence as a young girl. There was something so gloomy and heavy about it. In recent years, though, between teaching in a language classroom and raising two boisterous little humans, silence has been a rare commodity. In managing my own very loud anxiety, silence became therapeutic. But since that day when my mother broke the silence, it carries new weight. A weight that is too much for my chest to bare. Silence is piercing now. Cuts my breath like razor blades. Squeezes my heart so hard that I want to scream.
But scream what?
It is not my pain.
They are not my monsters.