In German, Kummer means grief.
My grandmother died twice: the first time was a lie.
My mom asked a friend to call her at work with a fake family emergency. Afterwards, we drove to Paducah and ate Arby’s french fries.
My mother talked about how awful my grandmother was and told me I should be grateful I had a great mother.
The second time was the truth.
My grandmother passed out drunk outside her trailer in rural Oklahoma in the middle of winter. They found her on the first of January, her bones frozen and her fingers cold.
My mother laid in bed and wept for hours. She cried until she threw up, until words could no longer escape her mouth. She cried until she found it difficult to breathe, her chest concaving in rapid and hectic spurts.
There are words in German that can’t be translated into English.
These words travel down linguistical rivers and get lost in the current.
Words that dangle from broken driftwood.
Kummerspeck is the German word for the rolls of fat that have accumulated around my mother’s waistline.
Kummerspeck cannot be translated into English. When all emotions are abandoned, it translates to grief bacon.
My mother used to starve herself
She would only nibble her food
This was back when daddy would hit her every time she said something he didn’t like
She thought the faster she wasted away,
The faster her bones protruded from bruised and beaten skin
The faster she could escape
After my grandmother died, my mother became fat.
Her stomach bubbled over her jeans.
Her bones became lost under pounds of adipose tissue
She taught me food was a substitute for therapy
And words that were too hard to say out loud.
Brittny Meredith was voted “most opinionated” in high school and has since considered it a challenge to remain the loudest, most obnoxious woman in the room. She co-hosts the podcast, Mansplaining, where she analyzes hyper-masculine culture within action films. Her work has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Graceless.