We sure do miss you around here.
February has become a darker month for many of us since your death. The cold days and passing of cheery Christmastide brings with it memories of your illness and of your death in February two years ago. April called me on the first day of February this year and in the shakiness of her voice, I realized I felt it, too - the emptiness left by your physical absence. We cling to our memories and to each other, just as we clung to you.
February took a different turn for our family this year. You probably knew what was happening before I did! On Saturday, February 3rd, early in the morning I labored with our son. As the pains pulled me up from my bed, I found myself wondering if my labor would be anything like yours. The stories I’ve heard are scary! You labored with April for thirty-six long hours before the doctors brought her out of your womb in an emergency c-section! Then, with me, you were sure I would come on your birthday (August 28), but like April, I preferred your womb and stayed in until September 10th. All I’ve heard about Robert’s birth is that he peed on the doctors (something my son did, too). Oh, and that I sold him to the doctor for a quarter.
I can’t quite put into words what this February feels like for me. My tear ducts are overflowing with happiness with the addition of our son to our family. It is clear to me that he is a gift. In his newborn freshness, he reminds me of the fragility of life. This February, it is hard to be sad. I’m not sad. Just heart-bursting happy that he is safely living on the outside of my womb. Here in our arms.
My pregnancy, labor and delivery with him has opened my eyes to something I’ve never experienced before - being a mom. I’ve heard it said before, but dang if it’s not true, becoming a mom has made me all the more grateful for you being my mom. The sacrifices you made in your body and your brain, your marriage and your career - those sacrifices are not lost on me. They are real to me now. Also, let’s talk about sleep. How did you give up so much sleep?! I know you wanted to. You wanted us. I understand the complexities of all of that a little more now.
I wish I could hug you. And pick up the phone and hear your voice. I wish I could hear you say those words, “I love you” and “You’re a good mom” and “It’s all going to be ok.” Those words are coming loud and clear from the community of friends and family you passed on to me and taught me how to create on my own. I know I’m loved and doing the best I can and I do have faith that in life and in death, it’s all going to be ok. You said those words enough around me, they stuck. I can still hear them in your voice, too.
What I want to say, and what I would say if I could to you today in person, is thank you. Thank you for being my mom, our mom. Thank you for holding us in your womb, birthing us into this great big world, feeding us and hugging us and sacrificing your sleep and sanity so that we would thrive here. We are thriving, each one of us who got to call you “mom.” And I know my son will benefit from feeling your love, not just through me, but through April, Robert and dad, too.
As the anniversary of your death approaches tomorrow, I plan to hold Lincoln near, to treasure these mysterious passageways between life and death, and give thanks for getting to be someone’s mom.
I love you.