Thursday, March 29, 2012

I saw my mom at the grocery store the other morning.

That would be a totally normal statement if my mother had not died almost three months ago.

The woman so closely resembled her that I stopped cold. Her clothing, her height and the shape of her body. Her hair color and style. It was my mom when she was healthy. When she was still my mom.

Apparently I unconsciously walked after her in the parking lot. I knew it wasn't her. I know it wasn't her, I do. But I had to see her face. And even the partial profile I managed to glimpse looked enough like my mom to seize my heart.

She never saw me, didn't even glance in my direction. I stood motionless in the middle of an early morning parking lot for what felt like an eternity as I watched a stranger walk away from me, oblivious to my struggle.

I hadn't been thinking about my mother or dwelling on her death that morning. It was business as usual. I was on my way to work, getting my Starbucks from inside the Marion Kroger. My phone was in hand preparing to call a friend. I hadn't been building up to an emotional upheaval.

Blindsided is the only word for the experience. It felt like an actual physical impact. And I'm not sure if I can survive a lifetime of these unexpected moments.

When does the pain ease into fond memories? Will I ever be able to reminisce without experiencing every negative emotion a human can feel?

For a millisecond I truly thought that woman was my mom. The hopeful lurch my heart gave was utterly terrifying. In a blink I knew it wasn't her and I felt as empty as I did the day we buried her. Empty with a dull, sick ache at my core.

Dear God, I could never have imagined just how hard this would be.

Clearly this post isn't about my daughter. But maybe someday when she's older she will want to read about how I processed this. Or maybe it's just therapy for me.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"Mom, all you want me to do is learn, learn, learn! I don't wanna grow up! I need some peace!"

So much for the fun iPad learning app I just downloaded for her. I'm such a slave driver.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I was watching last night's American Idol when Fin walked in during Phil Phillips' performance.

She stood in front of the tv and silently watched him sing the song through to the end. When he finished she turned to me and matter-of- factly stated,

"Mom, I fink I'm gonna marry that boy when I grow up."

Then she turned on her heel and left the room.

That's mah girl.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Mom, do I see strawberries??"

"Yep, I bought them just for you."

"Aw, Mom. You're simply adorable."

"Adorable? Really?"

"Yes, completely!"

...oh my.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Mom, if a bear wif big sharp teef bites you, you would get bleeds."

"Bleeds? What are bleeds?"

"Bleeds are red stuff inside of your body, kind of like red wava that comes out of a volcano."

"Why is it there?"

"It protects your bwain and your heart. It just fwoats around all inside you. Bleeds are different than boo boos. You need a bag wif ice to make bleeds better and not just a bandage. Boo boos are little and tiny and sometimes they're round. Bleeds are a big deal."

"How do you know all of this?"

"I know everyfing about bleeds. I'm a doctor."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fin woke up coughing this morning so I asked to look in her throat.

"Mom, do I have swollen music notes*?"

*Translation: Swollen lymph nodes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Finley came to me in tears. "Mom, I miss Mammaw. I don't want her to be an angel. I want her to be a normal person so I can see her. I didn't get to hug or kiss her goodbye."

I will have this talk with her many, many times in the coming years and the thought is heartbreaking. But a worse realization is that there will come a day when she won't ask about her. My daughter was four years, three months and three days old when she lost her grandmother. She won't remember that they cooked together, went on walks outside, had tea parties, danced and laughed together. How very much my mother loved her.

And that is what wrenches my heart the most.

Keeping someone's memory alive for the duration of a child's life is a daunting and exhausting task. It is a job that some days I fear I am not capable of. Some days I feel like I will surely fail.

But I will try. Because my sweet daughter deserves a grandma, even if it is only the thought of her.