an open letter to people about tomorrow

memaw’s service/funeral/whatever is tomorrow.

currently, memaw’s in an urn or something of the sort at my mother’s house.

i don’t want to go to the service.

now, before you get all judgy, lemme explain;

then it’s over.

for my entire life,

i have known my memaw and pepaw neil.  they have loved me and always existed and been real.

and then pepaw died, and it was brutal hard, and i still cry every time i think of him,

but there was still memaw.

and i got to visit her on fridays.

i got to be a tall handsome man who spent time with her and i got to feel a little like pepaw.

truly, there is no higher honor

than to do or be anything like

lloyd houston neil

as the son of a mother who lost her mother,

i have been on the periphery of death.

i still got to go home and have my parents

and know i can still hear my mom accidentally use an overly-assertive tone before self-correcting

and my father’s snapping, breathy laugh when he talks about my daughter.

i cried the hardest

during all of this

flipping through a southern living in

the sun room of hospice care

when i realized one day

i will lose my mother, too.

i favor muted pastels (is that redundant?)

and lots of natural lighting

i hated the color palettes of the rooms

that issue of southern living labeled as


* * *

so, tomorrow,

i will wake, eat enough food to function

no easy task with my metabolism

get the haircut i promised my mother i would get

at thirty three, we know by now to follow through on those promises

and pick out the shirt and tie i will wear as i read aloud a poem i wrote

and say goodbye (again) to memaw.

i guess that’s all.


joel houston

2 thoughts on “an open letter to people about tomorrow

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