Author’s Note: This post originally appeared on Instagram and my personal Facebook page. I’m adding it here in hopes it will reach more people over time. Thanks for reading, and for all the compassion I’ve received in response. You are all so loved and appreciated.
People say I look like her, but it’s so much deeper than that. I have the same tendency to sing in the car, eat carbs when I am sad, and to say I don’t want to be a gossip right before launching into the gossip. I love romantic movies and road trips and I still make her lasagna recipe.
Like my mother, I sometimes have more empathy than I know what to do with; and I see this in my boys when their emotions are too big for their little bodies to hold. I see in them, too, a deep sense of justice—which can turn to pain when it isn’t reflected by the world around them. I try to nurture all I see of her in them, and also teach them the hard lessons I’d prefer they never gain through experience. I tell them how I had to learn to protect myself, to take care of myself, to ask for help. To not avoid confrontation at the expense of my own feelings (or in defense of others). I work at it. And I still don’t always feel like I am on solid ground.
But I have resources she didn’t, I’ve escaped the trauma she couldn’t. And still. I miss her every single day. It’s been 18 years, and the anger has faded to a hard little pebble, like shrapnel that’s healed into the tissue of my life. But grief never goes away. The unanswered questions still echo through the years, haunting my steps and my tears and the need to call to ask her how to handle a colicky baby or make her cranberry bread or what was the address of our house in Sunnyvale. She’ll never know these little people, who would have adored and idolized her and given her more to live for than that one terrible moment allowed her to imagine. She’s missed so much, and I miss her, and even two decades later it feels raw and unfinished.
If you have that one terrible moment, or even a series of mundane moments where the pain is too exhausting to be considered terrible, if you are hurting or lonely or at the end of what seems possible, please reach out to someone. Just form the words, speak them with a voice soft or rusty or loud or wailing.
And everything after that will be fractionally easier. Because someone—someone you know or will meet or who may not even exist yet—someone misses you. 💔
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