It’s not a Marvelous Monday today. At least not for me. I want to make it great, as we climb into our car early in the morning and head into Mass to watch the Boston Marathon (we are, and always will be, #BostonStrong)…
But you left me 16 years ago and I can’t remember if there was a reason. I mean I know it took you. The sickness, the pain, the inevitable fate of being diagnosed so late in its takeover mission of your body. But why? Really, why?
Last week I went to my first rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother, Providence. I am so blessed to be in this amazing show- a presentation about motherhood and all that it means. And for me, it means so much- with Addie’s disability and living far away from home, motherhood is redefined for me each year as I am still so new to the game.
Woman after woman writes about her own mother, and her experiences. A loss, a relationship, the responsibility and being a mother and a daughter…. and while I love my mother, I miss my first love. I miss the first man- the one who hung the moon. I miss you everyday, Dad.
How has motherhood come into the shape it’s taken with me? It came to be because I lost him.
Growing up I dreamed of having children, quickly replaced by the memory of my father dying on the bed before me. A nurse telling me it was time to say goodbye and people I’d never met introducing themselves to me as old college friends. In my 13 year old mind I was rebelling, I was dying, I was losing a part of me that I would never regain.
What the hell is hospice and why are we here? Why is everyone so nice? Why are people looking at me with such sorrow and pity?
I didn’t want another cup of water, or juice or soda, or a snack, or a pillow or a movie. I wanted to know why he wasn’t responding anymore. I wanted to know why everyone around me seemed to die and why he was in this bed. There is no way that my hero could leave me. He said he never would.
I decided I never wanted kids, because their parent could die, and they would be screwed up forever.
I used men and I let them use me. Emotionally, physically. It really didn’t matter. I thought I was in love a hundred times, but in the end, we all ended up happier elsewhere, didn’t we? The only time I felt a hole- the blackest hole sucking in every smile I’d ever felt since April 21, 1998, was when he popped into my head.
was is all the time.
I have never thought of another man every single day of my life, besides my father. From the moment I was born until the day I, too, take to the Earth, I will never love someone the way I loved him. You only get one Father. Only one man created you, and he’s not supposed to leave.
My road to motherhood has been paved with the worst intentions, but somehow led me to my own form of utopia. Surely, if the path to Hell is paved with all the good stuff, it would only make sense. I never meant to fall in love, or get married, or have children who would one day have to say goodbye to me. To their father. And to so many others it is never fair to lose.
My marriage, too, has been shaped by his passing. At 18 I took out life insurance on myself, before I was married, I took it out on Dave and when Addie was born, my gift to her was a policy that would give her some money at 18- or convert to higher coverage. I’ve had a piece of paper in my car, my living will, since I could drive. It used to be a DNR, now it is save me for my kids. Dave and I drew up a will before Addie was born, and it will be amended before our second child comes. I try to keep some kind of emotional indifference, as though should he leave, I will be OK.
I want my kids to find their independence for more than their general well being, but so they can survive when we no longer do.
I am defined by you leaving, Dad. You both made me and broke me by leaving that 13 year old girl on that April night.
And I don’t think I’ll ever have a reason… but I’ve got three of my own to live for, now.