Neon Doves

Mama.

Hayley Francis

A year ago on March 24th I lost my mama suddenly. It was the worst day of my life, the worst effing nightmare, and 2017 I must say, was the worst year I hope I'll ever have. I found it incomprehensible for life to ever feel whole again, and it pissed me off when people said it will get better as each day went by, because for a while, each day got worse. When reality sunk in it felt like someone was punching me in the gut, but I didn't know when the punch was coming. But most of the time reality just couldn't sink in, even when I tried to make it. It was as if she was just somewhere else and I needed to find her. A sick game of hide and seek.

But a year later, it turns out it does get easier. Thinking about her every second turned into every five seconds, until all of a sudden I realized there were times I hadn't thought about her for an hour. A part of me felt guilt when that happened, but I realized it also meant progress.

My family has always been more than close, the closest it comes, I would say. But turns out something like this can either separate you or bring you even closer, and I'm happy to say the latter happened for us. Something I'm so grateful for.

To mark this year passed, I decided to mark myself. I think to remember this year and who I am. I am me, and I'm also my mom, because I can feel her with me. In my dreams and memories. It's been a year and in some ways it feels like it was yesterday, but I know that I'm out of the fog, and progress has been made, and that is something to celebrate.

Laurie Gregory Francis. Legend. I miss you so fucking much.

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Photos by Maddie Lismore