Cover Photo: photograph of a gold-framed photograph of the author as a child, with his mother, on a shelf also containing a clock and a wooden jewelry box with a vase and framed art behind
Photograph courtesy of the author

My Mother Lives Here Because I Live Here

It was the middle of a pandemic. Mom had just died of cancer. Why leave my home of four and a half years?

This is Grief at a Distance, a column by Matt Ortile examining his grief over his mother’s death in the Philippines during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They will never build on top of that lot. We’ll always have natural light.

people are still dying

Butthe light

Always be prepared

say hello from heaven

I’m old. You do the traveling. Collect the miles.

If you’re there, show yourself. Just don’t scare me.

This is the one

Good morning, anak

Matt Ortile is the author of the essay collection The Groom Will Keep His Name (Bold Type Books/Hachette 2020). He is also the managing editor of Catapult magazine, and a contributing writer at Condé Nast Traveler. Previously, he was the founding editor of BuzzFeed Philippines. He is a MacDowell Fellow and has written for Vogue, Self, Out, and BuzzFeed News, among others. He is a graduate of Vassar College and lives in Brooklyn. You can find more of his work on mattortile.com and on Twitter @ortile.