I dreamed about you the other night. I spoke to you. Finally. It seemed like hours before I realized it was you. Why is that? As soon as I did, as soon as my brain caught up with me and I figured out that it was your face, and your eyes, I panicked. I panicked because I knew you’d leave.
I begged you not to. Wrapped my arms around you, pleaded with you to stay. Please stay this time. Don’t go. Not yet.
You told me you couldn’t. That I knew you couldn’t. Just a few more minutes, but then you’d have to go.
Six years on and even still, I want you to stay, need you to stay. I want to tell you everything. I want to catch you up. Even though I know it’s impossible, that there could never be enough time.
I had her, Craig. The most perfect daughter. She’s sweet and she’s funny. Delicious rolls and beautiful blue eyes. She’s everything.
For some reason she makes me think of you. Not reminds me of you, but makes me think about you, and us, and how everything that has happened has led up to her. This perfect little creature.
I find myself mourning you all over again.
For a different reason now. It’s another thing you are missing, another thing I can’t tell you about. And I want to. Because you would understand how long I waited, how hard it was to have her. How much I love being with her and how deeply lonely it can be when it’s just the two of us. I want to see you marvel at how she is the perfect mix of me and her father, his eyes and my nose. I want to hear you say congratulations, that you knew it would happen, that this is what you always wanted for me.
But I can’t.
I want to tell you about how it makes me afraid now. Want to put my head on your shoulder, listen to you listen to me about how I can’t have peace anymore. How I will always worry. Because in the pit of my stomach I know, really know, that I cannot protect her from everything. That no matter how safe I make her, no matter how careful I am, there will always be things that I cannot protect her from, people I cannot protect her against. There could always be someone driving home from a night shift, drifting off to sleep behind the wheel. I lay awake at night, staring up at the ceiling in the dark, and try to convince myself to stop being so afraid.
But I can’t.
I desperately want to be the kind of woman I want her to aspire to. Strong and brave and fierce. Career in one hand, happiness in the other. I want her to be full of ideas and inspiration, to take on the world without pause. To be resilient. I want to show her how to be independent, to thrive, to always find joy.
But I can’t.
I feel as though I am failing already. Because I don’t feel like the hopeful, optimistic mothers I see around me. Their children are their delight and the futures are open. I want to feel these things. So badly. Instead I feel that fear, that worry, that someone somewhere could snatch her away from me. It happened with you, and I couldn’t stop it. No matter how vigilant and careful I was, I couldn’t stop it. What if I can’t stop it again?
All the strides I thought I took over the last six years seem to have disappeared. A few hours in the delivery room and I am back to that scared, trembling creature I was the day you were taken away. In truth it started before that, as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I so badly wanted to enjoy it. I earned that, after everything.
But I couldn’t.
I remember being happy. Do you remember? We were. Not always, but sometimes. Right before your accident we were happy. I was planning your birthday surprise, enjoying work, looking forward to the end of busy season. We had plans. Plans for the next twenty years. Plans for dinner that night. And I couldn’t wait. It felt as if I stopped being vigilant, stopped worrying and then it happened. So when I saw that little blue plus sign that I waited so long for, suffered so much for, I just couldn’t let myself be happy. Imagine what could have happened if I’d let myself be happy.
Instead I worried. And was afraid. And worried some more. I thought if I could just make it to her birth, I could relax. If I could just get her here. And I did and it was hard and it was painful but I did. And I had that one sweet moment of total relief, of joy.
But it didn’t take long for the fear to come creeping back.
And I wonder sometimes what kind of legacy that must be. That the way I still feel you in my life is like a shadow, always hovering near the corner of my eye, that dread in the pit of my stomach. I know what fear is now, know that there are things to be afraid of. That you can love someone and lose them in the blink of an eye.
I don’t want it to be this way.
I want to remember you and smile. I want to think fondly of you, to talk about you with warmth. I want the way you touched my life to be happiness.
These are the things I wish I could tell you.
I think you would understand.
I wish you could.
I love you, I miss you. Don’t forget me.