Dear Mom

This was written by Grayson Queen in December of 2012, and posted to his blog.  You may remember it from there.  He was an artist, a writer, a blogger, a geek, a diabetic, a depression-sufferer, my husband, and billions of other things.   His was born David Martinez, and in May of 2015, he died from natural causes– specific reasons still unknown.   If you were one of his dedicated readers, please know I’m finding a safe space for each of his precious words.  We’re starting right here, with this post and this site, because I’d know he’d trust us to gently fold this note to his mom into our Stories.

I don’t really know how to work out the comments but when having the Big Talks together, Dave and I used to say “Thud.”   It was our way of saying the right words, in the right way.  Our way of summarizing the feeling written on my wedding dress and inscribed on his wedding ring.  My soul heard your soul. 

I may just reply to your comment with Thud, and if you’d like– if it feels right to you– you’re welcome to our word, to reply to this piece with the same.

Thank you for reading, and keeping his words alive.

Ra

davepostfeature

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Dear Mom,

In 1995, we saw a movie called Army of Darkness. We laughed. I happened to read the back cover and discovered that it was the third in the series. For the next year, we hunted through video stores looking for the other two. We eventually found Evil Dead 2 and watched it, out of order, but gleefully.

I didn’t find a copy of Evil Dead for another 3 years; I bought it and we watched it from the old worn VHS.

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Dear Mom,

In 1996, we sat down and watched a little known movie called Trainspotting. I sat awkwardly through the sex scenes while you said nothing. I listened intently to the nearly unintelligible accents; you laughed at the dark humor.

Afterwards I bought the novel and the soundtrack. I still read Irvine Welsh and listen to Iggy Pop. We rented Shallow Grave; I’ve seen nearly every Ewan McGregor film. When 28 Days Later came out years later I jumped on it.

That year I enrolled in film class.

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Dear Mom,

In 1987 I loved GI Joe. Possibly the action figures more than the show. I had several plastic tubs full of them. We bought one for the figures, one for the weapons and one for the accessories. There were four closet shelves dedicated to vehicles. I may not have had all the GI Joe paraphernalia, but I wanted for nothing.

Embarrassingly, I actively collected action figures until I was 22. GI Joe, He-man, Star Wars, and on and on.

When I was 17, I used my action figures to film a short movie.

When I was 22 ,I was hired as a 2nd assistant director on a music video and then a TV pilot.

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Dear Mom,

In 1994 I started smoking, anything I could steal or bum, but I didn’t start drinking until I had moved out.  I started binge-drinking when I turned 21, waiting only because waiting made it easier to purchase. On my birthday I sat alone in my apartment and drank till I passed out. Since then I’ve been a heavy drinker, though not dependent.

I’ve taken ecstasy, mushrooms and smoked weed– mostly to realize that they weren’t for me.

_________________________________________

Dear Mom,

In 2000 I swallowed a massive amount of pills and tried to kill myself. It would have been nice to blame this on walking in on my fiancé having sex with another man, but it wasn’t the first attempt: Cutting, stabbing, hanging and a gun sitting in my mouth for over an hour.

We both knew I was troubled. We both pretended neither of us knew.

Neither of us were to blame.

_________________________________________

Dear Mom,

In 2005 I moved in with my father; he and I have never been close. You had done your best to understand me. You took interest in the strange things I was interested in.

All I knew of my father was that he coached my soccer team from the time I was 7 till I quit soccer at 17. We never had an argument, never fought, and never were involved in major conflicts. For 25 years, we had a silent agreement to live and let live.

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Dear Mom,

In 2002 I moved back home after quitting my job and declared I was going to go to film school. Then I got a job working to help with a film at Sundance. I remember seeing how proud you were of me. Afterwards, the production company hired me as a 2nd Assistant Director.

I may have left film, but left it knowing that I could contend with those who considered themselves elite.

_________________________________________

Dear Mom,

In 2006 while spending several years in seclusion, drunk and smoking, I began to paint and write. I’ll admit that thoughts of suicide cropped up, but I never felt what I was doing was sub-par.

Unemployed, broke and living with my father, I painted the first painting I ever sold and my first book ever published.

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Dear Mom,

In 2004, you died. I had been living at home for a year. The truth was that I knew it was coming. You had been struggling with cancer for 17 years. And that last year I wasted, too afraid to look at you. I watched you lay in bed hooked up to medical machines.

I was so ashamed that I couldn’t really do anything. You needed morphine to stop the pain. There was nothing I could do. You needed a spiritual companion to speak with. That Christmas I bought you a statue of an angel. I noticed that you set it close.

Two months later, I was the first one to declare you dead. I touched your skin. I saw you had gone. But that wasn’t what broke my heart.

_________________________________________

Dear Mom,

In 2006 I got married to a woman you had never met. She has become my balance. And though, maybe, you might not have gotten along, I think you would have respected how she handles me… and everything.

Through some unforeseeable series of events I became an artist. I’ve written scripts. I’ve worked on films. I have sold my paintings. I have been published. I am good at what I do. I am in control of myself.

I wish I could have told you this. I wish I believed in a God so I could imagine that you’ve seen it all.

I wish that in those last days I had the confidence in myself to have the strength to tell you everything was going to be okay for me.

It is.

Despite everything seeming so broken, everything turned out for the best.
And if for some reason things break, I know I’m strong enough now to face it.

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