It’s my mama’s birthday-the second one we will celebrate without her here to blow out the candles.
It’s also the second anniversary (do you call it that?) of the day Papa had to call an ambulance to rush her to the hospital.
She never came home.
These past two years have been hard. Mama’s death plunged me back into deep grief for her and for Dominic. It tapped the wound that had begun to scar over a bit and the feelings I’d learned to push down bubbled back to the surface.
I’ve just now begun to sleep through the night again most nights. For much of the past two years I’ve been waking two or three times in the dark to vividly awful dreams-my family in peril and no way to help them is the theme over and over and over.
I know other motherless daughters.
Somehow knowing Mama isn’t available on the other end of the phone or sitting in her chair, waiting for me to come through the door at the farm, makes me supremely vulnerable.
One less generation between me and whatever the world might throw at me.
I know she is healthy and whole, happy and full of joy in Heaven. I know she’s reunited with her own mama, her siblings and Dominic.
On good days, that’s enough to make the missing bearable.
But on days like today, when we should be celebrating another year together but can’t, it doesn’t help all that much.
I miss her.
I miss Dominic.
I miss the me that used to be ignorant of what death steals from the living.
Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mama. We’ll be there soon. ❤
I understand completely that some parents don’t want to use it to describe their child and I respect that.
I have chosen to use it often (not always-sometimes I say “left” or “ran ahead to heaven”) because what happened IS harsh. I don’t want to soften it because there was nothing soft about it for me or my family.
I was planning my daughter’s wedding and juggling a number of other pressing responsibilities. I managed to keep my composure most days when talking with caterers, family members and vendors but all that pent up stress kept me from falling asleep when I finally put my head down at night.
I had just begun to settle back into a decent sleep pattern when my mother suffered a stroke and died a few days later in September.
That threw me right back into the sleepless cycle that plagued me for years after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven in 2014. I couldn’t fall asleep or when I fell asleep I couldn’t stay asleep. What sleep I managed to get was filled with terrible and terribly vivid dreams.
I’m back in that pattern once again for no apparent reason.
I’m not sure I’ll ever enjoy the blissfully ignorant and pleasant slumber I knew as a young girl.
My heart won’t let me.
For the first couple of weeks after Dominic left us, I couldn’t fall asleep.
It was impossible to close my eyes without a dozen awful scenes flashing behind the lids.
I happened to be traveling recently and saw that Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Vanderbilt, has filmed a documentary about his mother titled Nothing Left Unsaid. I don’t know much about him or the film, but the title immediately struck a chord in my heart.
I am learning so much through grieving my son.
I am learning by hard experience that we may not have tomorrow.
And I am learning that what weighs most heavily on my heart is not the things I said or did but the things I didn’t say or didn’t do.