So it’s taken me a while to get to this post. Not because I haven’t had time. I have. Not because I don’t know what to say. I do. It’s because this subject brings up so much emotion, I have to be in just the right frame of mind to write about it. I think I am there now. We’ll see how it goes.
I have written before about my daughter and the relationship that we don’t have. If you missed it, you can read it here. So I won’t bore you with the details of why we don’t see one another. Suffice it to say, it is the biggest price I paid for being a drunk.
In my previous post, I talked about living in a town where I have to deal with the ghosts of my past – the negative ones. This part of living in a ghost town is different. It’s more about living with the ghosts of good memories, but knowing that, at least for the time being, I won’t be able to make more of those types of memories. It’s the joy of being reminded of all of the good, happy times that I had with her, but in the same instant feeling the painful loss. It’s the definition of bittersweet.
When I am driving around Tucson, I am constantly bombarded with memories. I often have to drive by her old school, and I think about the day we went to register her there. I remember the parent-teacher conferences, the beautiful email I received about her from her Spanish teacher, the fun I always had chaperoning field trips. I am not exaggerating or romanticizing when I say that we had a wonderful relationship. We liked each other. We had fun together.
I still live in the same apartment that I lived in with my daughter. When we first moved in, she went around marking her territory with white chalk. Her first initial was on everything…the patio furniture, the plant pots, light fixtures, and stuff in her bedroom. It was only recently, when my husband realized how much I looked at those things and felt sad, that he got rid of them. There’s still a little bit of her writing on the back of the bathroom door though, and I kind of like it there. All other traces are pretty much gone, done so at my request, because I just couldn’t stay where I was emotionally when I saw them. It was way too heartbreaking.
Who am I kidding though?
Whether or not there is something physical there to remind me that I lost her, I think about her all the time. I miss her all the time. I love her all the time.
It’s not only the ghosts of the past that haunt me now, it’s the ghosts of the present too. I am at the point now, having not seen her in over two years, that I look for her wherever I go. When I see a girl that is about her age, and there is any similarity to what she looks like, my heart beats a little faster, my throat starts to tighten, and I feel kind of panicky. Then I see that it’s not her and I there is both sadness and relief. Sadness that it’s not her, and relief that it’s not her. What would I say to her at this point? I don’t know the right words. Maybe there aren’t any.
Ugh. This post is harder than I even thought it would be. Is there any other pain that is worse than being separated from your own child? Not just physically separated, but emotionally as well? I don’t think so. I’ve suffered a lot of pain, and this is by far the worst. There are times that it is utterly unbearable. My heart aches. This isn’t how things were supposed to turn out.
I keep a box in my closet that has photos and little things that she made for me over the years. On her 16th birthday, I wrote 16 little notes to her, wishes that I have for her. I will do it again, each birthday. I hope that someday she will read them.