From the darkest and deepest corners of hell, we have risen, blinded by the light of day. We fought our way, clawing, ripping flesh from flesh, exposing bone and blood and guts. We fought for days, months, years, then we were dragged down into the darkness once more. We were stripped of all that made us human; all that made us right. We had our reason to fight ripped from our arms and the most consuming love squeezed from our hearts. We were left with memories of what light looked like, what the warmth of the sun felt like on our skin, and again we scratched clawed and fought our way to the top, to becoming human again. To rise back into the world with only scars to show from where we’ve been. On the outside we look like everyone else but with a heaviness to each step and a depth behind our eyes. We are the guardians that couldn’t protect. We are the self proclaimed saviors that couldn’t save. We are the parents forced to bury our children. Its who we are, its scars we will always bear. But how will we survive and who will we become?
I try not to think of how Lilee would be and try to just remember her how she was. But watching the joy of other mothers as they hit milestones with their children. As they watch them grow, both physically and intellectually. As they learn compassion. Friendship. Love. Pain. Joy. Success. Failure. Watching their child’s imagination run wild and their wildest dreams come true makes it extremely difficult to not imagine what she would be like; especially as tomorrow approaches. What would she look like? What would she sound like? What kind of humour would she have? What would she love and what she would hate? It’s hard not to think of the years taken; Of her eternal age. It’s hard to feel reborn when she is irrefutably dead and knowing that I died then too.
Every day is a battle. I wake up every morning fighting the urge to stay in bed and sleep away the pain, the sadness the fear and the loneliness. Every day I have to make a choice to get up. I make a choice to shower, to do my hair, put on some make up. I make a choice to get dressed and get into my car. I make a choice to drive to work and do my job. What happens subconsciously for others, my conscious brain decides, all because I am at war with my heart, desperately ready to give in. So I have to constantly find the strength to carry on, push forward, even if it feels like i’m standing still.
As this second Mother’s day without my child draws near, I can feel the mother I was disintegrating. I am starting to recognize who I am today instead of struggling with letting go of who I was with Lil. My basic human make up, my moral compass, my love and my heart will remain how Lilee taught me to be, but as I live more days as a non practicing mother I feel a detachment from who I was. Because, well, im not her. And that makes me mad as hell. and that’s okay. I’m mad because I feel like a fucking 18 year old trying to figure out who I am after high school, the overwhelming confusion of what I am going to do for the rest of my life and this MASSIVE stress to figure it out yesterday. What the HELL!. I did have it all figured out!! I mean.. I didn’t really. I just knew that I had to support and raise a sweet little girl and the rest would figure itself out. But now that is gone and I am staring at a clean slate.. but not the kind of clean slate you want to see, the kind you built a masterpiece on, blood, sweat and tears and then the rain fell and washed it all away. My identity as a mother melting away with every drop.
Tomorrow is a day to celebrate the woman that brought you into this world, or the woman (or man for those who get to be both mom and dad) who raised you, protected you, taught you and loved you. But tomorrow, for me, is a day I remember what was taken. I bear the scars of carrying a child, birthing a child, raising a child but I have no child to hold on to. It’s a day I look back to the woman that exists only deep down, buried in pain and loss. The woman I was most proud of but the one I can no longer be.
A mother. A protector. A guide. A teacher. A home.
So as I write all this down, I realize that even though Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate my mother, it is yet another day of mourning.. (At least it is this year) I’ll mourn Lilee and mourn who I was. I know I will always be her Mom, But I am not A mom and as time passes i’m starting to not feel like one. Whether that is good or bad I don’t know. I just know i’m changed. I just know I am in a state of limbo before my second “becoming” and I have no idea who that person will be.
But I am still a daughter of an incredible Mother, one that is worth celebrating every day of the year. Although I am not able to be with her tomorrow, to you, mom, I say this:
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Your unconditional love for me allowed me to focus only on my unconditional love for Lilee. Your unconditional love for me allowed me to be who I needed to be after I had to say good bye. Your unconditional love for me held my head above water. I don’t think I would be able to recognize those little things, those little words, if I hadn’t have been a mother myself. It deepens the level of appreciation for you because I KNOW. I KNOW your heart because I am a part of it. Just like Lilee would have grown to know mine, and as I get older I am more and more thankful of not only knowing you as my mom, but getting to know you as you, as an adult, as a woman. Thank you will always be inadequate, but sometimes it’s the only thing you can say.
So thank you, for teaching me grace, compassion, strength and love both as a mother and a woman, in a sometimes very cruel and unforgiving world. I love you.
And to Lilee-Jean, my one and only.
You shaped me into who I am today. I was suppose to shape you. You were my courage and strength, but I was suppose to be your’s. You showed me how to live, truly live, But I was suppose to be the one to show you. My heart beats with your rhythm my girl and I will continue to live a life you would have been proud of. Even though I wont get to teach you, shape you, and witness your life I will, in turn, continue to learn, and shape and participate in my own taking you each step of the way.
ALWAYS and forever, baby bean, I will love you.
Remembering, loving and missing Lilee overwhelmingly,
One thought on “Who Am I?”
When I began to follow Lilee’s journey, I along with thousands of people through your writing got a glimpse of what unconditional love was and is. We each felt joy at each milestone Lilee accomplished, and cried with you when bad news was given. We smiled at moments you shared with us and our hearts ached when you allowed us a glimpse of the set backs that fell upon Lilee.
We all said prayers, and we willed her to get better and begged a higher power to let her make it to her 3rd birthday. When you shared early Halloween and Christmas pictures everyone felt the love emanate between you and Lilee. When the news came that Lilee passed in your arms each of us cried; we mourned and still mourn for a life taken too soon.
You question who you are, and where your journey is now going without Lilee by your side. You question your strength, yet when I look at the magnitude of what you lost to where you are today you astound me. You gave us a mere glimpse of the powerful bond you had with Lilee; that absolute undying love you possessed and that monumental desire that roars like an open fire inside you to protect her at all costs. You bared your soul to us and gave us a glimpse of what unconditional love and sacrifice is, and that takes courage and strength. Lilee touched more lives in her short life than many do in a lifetime, and because of you her legacy isn’t that she died but she lived life with everything she had..and you gave her that gift; thank you for sharing that with us. Through you Lilee will always live on in everyone’s hearts. ” On Mother’s Day I can think of no mother more deserving than a mother that had to give one back” (Erma Bombeck)