“Grief Bacon: Pressuring Myself” at Modern Loss
Migraines run in my family. Growing up, they were the only ailment that ever forced my mother out of commission. She’d power through a stomach bug or cold, but the migraine’s white, popping focal auras and drilling pain forced her to retreat to her bedroom. Door shut. Lights off. My brother and I knew to leave her alone. That if we played with my toy horses down the hall, we had to run the farm silently.
Our house felt quiet, lesser, without her fully in it. It made me uneasy, like the cream colored walls lining the hallway were waiting to crumble. I needed to tiptoe down the carpet to her door, sock feet stepping over the squeaky spot by the top of the stairs, and turn the knob slowly so it wouldn’t whine and announce me. Leaning one eye towards the crack, I saw my mother resting in bed with a heavy copy of Southern Living magazine balanced on her forehead. The pages didn’t move with her delicate breaths. I shut the door as slowly as I opened it, waiting to pull my palm away from the cool brass knob until I heard the latch slide into place.