People tell me…”you’ll always be Kate’s mommy!” I know this is true, but there’s something about the statement that hurts in a way I can’t quite explain. Don’t get me wrong! I’d much rather people recognize that YES! Yes, I a AM her mommy forever! It’s complicated.
Joining this club of bereaved mothers….particularly those of us who have lost our only child (as it’s the only thing I know)…it leaves me feeling like I’m having a crisis of identity. I KNOW I’m her mother. I have the scars to prove it. On my belly from her birth. On my mind from what I know. On my eyes from what I’ve seen. And my heart from what is true.
But see…losing her puts me in this awkward, uncomfortable place of being unable to actively mother her that feels wrong and isolating. I don’t belong in the moms group anymore. I don’t belong on the playground or at storytime. Or car line or the kids’ section at Target. I don’t belong, even, in the conversation about motherhood because my girl was four two years ago…and she would be almost seven. And I’ve lost all that time not KNOWING her. What REAL mother loses two years of her daughter’s life?
Do I get to answer when the Mother’s Day brunch server asks “are you a mom” at the table? Do I have to bleed my heart out to explain why I still “qualify?” Do I have to show her the scar, prove my worthiness? Because a simple “yes” makes her look around and wonder “what kind of mom goes to brunch withOUT her child?”
I think any mother who has lost a child would agree with me when I say I would take the worst day all over again EVERY day just to be present with her. All those times I thought I was doing nerve damage to my back and legs by sitting with her on my lap on the hospital bed. All the times I caught vomit in my hands wishing with every fiber of my being it could be me, not her. Every time I cried with fear over her. OH to be back there again!
The only thing I get to “mother” anymore is what’s left. Her Cause. Her headstone. My heart. I wasn’t done with the real thing. I had so much left to give her. Show her. I had so much more loving to do.
Mommy? Yes, yes I know I am. Still. But I want the REAL THING. I want the active, dirty, messy, exhausting, glorious REAL THING. Because this is not the motherhood I signed up for. I want her back, in my lap and in my life.
To the mothers I know in this uncomfortable club with me…YOU ARE STILL THEIR MOTHER. But I also understand that it pales in comparison to the real deal of motherhood that we all fall asleep dreaming of.
I love you Kate. I miss you. Best friends forever, I promise.