When your childhood ends, as all phases in life do, and when your loved one departs, there is finality to what was shared.
When you lose the closest person to your heart, the end does not bring complete closure.
There are always feelings and experiences that linger.
They are the remains.
This is where I find my heart fixated as of late.
They are the memories that remain from my childhood home during summer, a place filled with intangible closeness, which I can only find when I close my eyes. It is where my brother and I climbed a blossoming crabapple tree while my father sat at the front stoop smoking a cigarette. It is waking to Pavarotti on Saturday mornings and coming into the kitchen to find my mother singing with a stretched-out telephone cord wrapped around her ankles. It is where I never felt alone. It is where I always felt celebrated.
What remains is a place decades away that I can hardly claim as my own.
This place is the loved one that came and went, where fate intersected and paths diverged. It is a goodbye that was never said but was shown somewhere between the furrowed brow and saddened eyes. It is hope that the loved one will return, in human form or as a ghost, visiting in the night to put his hand on my sleeping shoulder. It is a bond that broke but was put back together, only now with scars like cracks between puzzle pieces.
This feeling is a vague yet constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist. It is merely what remains—an incessant, wishful daydreaming for something to reappear.
This experience is when the closest person to your heart has passed away. It is what is left behind of his essence. It is longing to hold his hand. It is yearning to hear his voice. It is an eternal nostalgia for what existed but also what prevailed.
It is searching for clues to ancestral roots in order to hold onto a piece or even particle of him. It is planting a tree and calling the tree by his name. It is trying to root oneself in the earth as long as the heart allows, because the heart has already departed in fragments.
Among what remains, there is emptiness so profound it creates panic, like being at the bottom of the sea and frantically swimming back to light and breath.
What remains are words unspoken, a resignation to fate. A feeling that overpowers, lingers, one that can’t be brushed off easily.
Then, among the scraps of memories of all of life’s events, both joyful and traumatic, there is a longing to be held. Longing to be consoled by the tender touch of the one who understands, or tries. The one who understands my yearning for home. The one who understands my past and those I loved. The one who understands the depths of my losses.
All of the remains will transport me to this present moment, in your arms, where I can live in the now.
Author: Ashley Martinez
Apprentice Editor: Brook Bentley/Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo Credit: Flickr/LMAP