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
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 and the co-editor of the nonfiction anthology Body Language. He is also the executive editor of Catapult magazine and was previously the founding editor of BuzzFeed Philippines. He has received fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and MacDowell; has taught workshops for Kundiman, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and PEN America; and has written for Esquire, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Out magazine, and BuzzFeed News, among others. He is a graduate of Vassar College, which means he now lives in Brooklyn.
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Meaning is an abstract concept. It needs a container. Concrete details are those vessels, the building blocks, the foundation of a good essay.