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Funeral Part 5--Michaela's Story
By Jamieson Meredith-Charbonneaux
Friday, February 01, 2002
My mother died when I was 3 years old.
My father never really got over it. Don't get me wrong, my dad is the coolest guy around, but sometimes, he'd get into these moods…
I couldn't remember anything about her. I was much too young. Dad says I'm just like her though. It's weird how I can be so much like someone else. Genetics, probably, I thought.
I remember when I was like six or seven years old, I wrote a story about a princess. My teacher thought it was good enough to be published in the local paper. I didn't tell Dad though. I hated the story, I thought it was stupid.
When the paper came out that Sunday, I told Dad to read the youth section, that some kids in my class had some drawings and stuff there. I was hoping against hope that the paper had changed their mind and not published the story.
They didn't; it was there. Dad was so proud! In a way, I was too. I think he told half the neighbors within five minutes. The other half of the neighborhood heard about it later.
I still smile when I think of that.
As I got older, I constantly challenged myself to write. I discovered poetry in the 4th grade, and fell in love with it. I was blessed with a natural ability that was obvious to me, and to anyone who read what I wrote. I was my own worst critic though. For years, I kept my writings secret. I thought no one would like it, because I sure didn't. I always thought I could do better.
About six months ago, I was poking around in the attic, looking for old stuff to use in a play I was in, when I found the boxes. There were three of them. Big storage boxes from some office (the same used for files and such) with my mother's name written on them. They were dusty and appeared to not have been opened in a very long time.
I took the lid off the first box. Inside were smaller boxes. I took out one of these smaller boxes and opened it. I got the shock of my life. Inside were notebooks full of poetry and short stories! Some of them dated back to before I was born. I opened one of the notebooks and began reading my mother's writings.
I must have been in the attic for three hours, just reading the beautiful poems my mother had written when she was not much older than I am now. I felt like I had discovered my mother's soul. There were poems that were clearly written for and about my father. I finally realized why Dad missed her so much, even after all these years. They were soulmates, destined to be together forever. While forever ended with Mom's death, Dad had to go on living. Clearly, it was hard for him. Even I could see that.
"Michaela?" Dad was calling from downstairs, "are you planning to come down soon?"
"Just a sec, Dad!" I called. I started to put the notebooks back in the box. I was going to take it downstairs, but didn't want Dad to find out. There was much more about my mother I needed to discover! I didn't want to keep my wondrous find from him, but I needed to. Just until I could read more…
It took me until now to read all the books and journals my mother had kept. I feel like I know her now, and find that I miss her. I missed having a warm, caring, funny, committed, insightful mother. What would she have been like if she had not died? What would she say about my writing? I wondered what having her now, at age 17, would have been like. I can't even begin to guess.
Mom has awakened my own muse. Did she know what her legacy meant, at the time she was writing these poems and stories? I can almost feel her presence in the house while I'm at the computer, writing my own poems and stories, dreaming of my own soulmate. Will I find someone like my father, or someone whose existence I yet do not know? I wish I had the answers.
But, thanks to my mother, and the foresight of my father, I finally know what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.
I did tell Dad what I found all those months ago. All he said was, "I know."
That's why he suggested I go look in the attic for old clothes for the play. He knew I'd find the boxes. He knew it was time for me to find them.
"How did you know?" I asked.
"I found your writings, Kayla," he said. "You have no idea how good you are. Your mother didn't know how good she was. I knew. You have it. It was the gift she hoped to leave you."
I didn't know what to say about that. Then Dad handed me a small book. It was a book of poetry written by…my mother!
"Did she know about this?" I asked in awe.
"Yes, she sent the poems to a publisher in Boston, and they liked what she sent and complied them into a book. I received this a week after your mom's funeral."
"Oh my God…" I gasped.
Dad continued; "Michaela, this book sold like mad, just here in New England. Then the publishing company marketed it nationwide. The royalties from the book are going to pay for your college education."
I was speechless. Then Dad showed me the dedication page.
"To Frank and Michaela, the two brightest stars in my sky."
I must have stared at that page for a good ten minutes, feeling tears fall down my face. When I looked up, I saw that Dad had tears in his eyes, too.
"Love never dies, Kayla. I wish that for you someday," was all he said.
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I was not being kind.I truly loved this novella.It was easy to read, and follow. I thought the story line was there. I also liked the name "Michaela.
Anthony Michael Nerone~