May 4, 2020

My mother’s daughter

Tomorrow makes thirteen years since my Mom slipped away from this universe and found herself in whatever comes next. She said, some days before as she was slipping from this world already and into the next, that Grandma told her she would fly as high as the ladybugs. We had no idea of knowing that Grandma would pass away just two days before her. I really believe that Grandma went first to make Mom’s way.

This year, I mix in the grief over Big Daddy with that of my mother and grandmother. The pain and sadness is mixed together like a braid, impossible to tug apart. The missing leaves me breathless. I have that same, sad, stupid empty feeling in my chest that I’ve come to hate as much as I dread. It leaves me uneasy and restless and desperate and there’s nothing to do for it but sit and wait for it to fade and heal in whatever time that takes.

Every mother’s day, Big Daddy would write a facebook post about me. I loved it. I loved the acknowledgement and gratitude. I loved that he would express how he felt about me as a mother. I loved that he was proud of me. I loved that we shared this great love of our family. I won’t see a post like that this year if one is even written. Big Daddy and I don’t follow each other on social media any more. By my choice. What he says and thinks there is something else I don’t know about him anymore.

But, these last three months have taught me a lot. I will miss Big Daddy’s post. I will miss his love. I will miss the forehead kisses and I will miss him calling me sweetheart. I do miss it. Right now. But, I don’t need his facebook post to tell me something I know with so much conviction. I don’t need Big Daddy to tell me I’m a good mother. I don’t need anyone to tell me because these last three months have revealed it to me in a way I never let myself accept.

I am an excellent mother.

I was always afraid that when the going got tough, I’d fold. I was afraid I wasn’t made of the stuff it took to recover when the worst happens. I forgot about evidence that told me that wouldn’t be true. But, here I am. Doing it. Every day. In the middle of a pandemic . Without a break. Here I am.

My mother would have been heartbroken with me on that January day that Big Daddy drove off in the dark. My mother would have put on a brave face for me and worried to my Dad about all the things I would have told her I was worried about. My mother would have come to stay, taken care of the house the girls while I got my feet under me again. In her absence, I mothered myself so I could mother my girls. I sat with our heartbreak, mine and theirs, and I continue to. I put on a brave face and worry to my support system who lift me up in ways I could have never imagined. I have taken care of myself until I got my feet back under me. I am showing my girls, in bits and pieces and fits and starts, that you can rise after the worst happens.

I am still rising.

Today, as I sat in the dining room in Big Daddy’s chair which will probably always be his chair, even if we never live in the same house again, a cardinal landed on the deck railing. It raised it’s comb and looked at me, hard, for a few minutes before flying away. I knew right away who it was.

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Jamie

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