I know I only just spoke to you before on the phone, but that doesn’t mean you’re really here. You haven’t been here for a long time now.
I’m struggling at the moment, and in truth I feel like I probably have been for a while. I called you up today because I was hoping to hear your comforting voice on the end of the phone line, like a big hug – but while I waited, it never came. Instead our conversation went around and around in circles with you asking me the same set of questions three times, until I begged an excuse and got off the phone, and began crying in the car as I was driving to find a place to write you this.
Truth is, I don’t ever hear from you. You completely forget, unless I call – and then when I do, you’re endlessly apologetic. Your world fluctuates between you work, caring for your Mum and then getting sleep. And really, that’s all that you can manage. I know you never intend to hurt me by purely forgetting that I exist, but my heart is fucking throbbing with the pain I feel for being abandoned. I know I hear you say every time on the phone that you’ll “try harder” to remember to call me but I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen. It isn’t your fault. But that doesn’t stop it from hurting.
I know there are darker days to come. You’re already confusing your own granddaughters name’s up and I know there comes a time when you’ll probably not remember my own. I feel the sting of your mind beginning to phase me out of your recollection and memories and it is tearing my heart into two, because I could really use a Mum around now. Someone to hold me, after my daughter has screamed all morning and to tell me that it’ll be okay, and tomorrow’s another day. Someone to take me out for cake and shoot shit with me, because it’s fun and that’s just what we feel like doing.
I’m already grieving you now even though you’re still living, and I don’t know whether that’s easier or harder than the alternative. Having a memory of someone sharp in your mind with a perception of how things should be is a daily reminder of what isn’t.
You keep calling yourself an “idiot” and how you’re “stupid” but this isn’t the case. It isn’t your fault, or your choice. And I’m probably incredibly selfish for even making this about me, but I just had to get it out.
Being a mother to four girls myself provides me with a new chance every day to do things right and be present. But somedays I don’t want to be a mother, I just want to be a daughter. I see how you’re there for your own mother and dote on her compassionately, and I am desperate to have the same kind of attention from you. I don’t know whether it’s because you “let me go” sooner than you did with Oma, or not, and that’s why her memory has stuck around for you more than mine has.
Either way, I’m hurting. I know I’ll be okay but the pain of losing someone who is still living is intense and all-consuming at times. There are countless what-ifs and whys racing around my head that I know will eventually be set to rest, and I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet. You’re there but not. It’s like you’re in this in-between state of worlds from back then and now, and I can’t imagine how exhausting and confusing that feels for you. Others around you are working to help themselves make sense of your new reality, but you’re not at any level of acceptance yet.
I just miss you, Mama. So I’m sending this out into the ether with a hope it’s a little healing and I can let go of the wanting and accept the what is. You’re only fragments of who you used to be, but I’m still fully here.
And it’s okay. Because it is what it is.