November 17, 2008
Message from mom..."hey, it's me, bye".
6 pm: Home from work, we spoke on the phone. Her cancer had returned a month ago, only 6 weeks after her first round of treatments concluded. She was on a very aggressive chemo that unlike the first round, she's much weaker, she needs blood transfusions and her breathing is more labored. We talked about Thanksgiving. She had been wanting so much to come to Indianapolis again. I was ordering a hospital bed for her, so she could sleep better while she was here. I told her, "Mom, I'll come there, you know I will". She said, maybe that's a good idea. She cried. I know it isn't what she had hoped for. I told her I'd take care of everything and could tell she had talked enough already and we hung up. I thought to myself...I didn't say I love you...should I call back? No...she needs her rest.
I fell asleep early that night. Even forgetting to take my phone upstairs.
November 18, 2008
T wakes me up around 7 am, he has almost 10 missed calls on his phone.
I rush to call my step-dad. My mom is gone. I collapsed on the floor and T runs to me, knowing what this means. I guess I should be thankful. The calls all came in after she was gone. There was nothing I could do. Maybe she wanted me to have that last night's rest.
A blood clot. It was not the cancer took her, but the effects of the chemo that got her first. After a summer of treatments, she said we'd get to say goodbye 1000 times. She was wrong. There is never a day that goes by that I won't think of the words left unsaid. That I won't relive the moment I chose not to call her back and say, "Mom...I love you".
I've never been much of a saver. I don't have years of birthday cards that she (or anyone) gave me. But I do have the last birthday card she gave me. I read it every so often. This specific card, was perfect and I will treasure it, always.
A Letter for My Daughter
On Her Birthday
Think of a mitten and a hand
or the way tea fills the curve of a teacup.
In the same way, there is
a place in my life
shaped like you.
Before you came,
I did not even know it was there.
But afterward, I knew
I had always had it,
this quiet and waiting space
in the middle of my heart
that you, and
only you, could fill.
And even more than the day
you came into my world...
I love you.
November 18, 2011
I've had my doubts about this pregnancy. The lack of symptoms and the brown spotting that had lasted for more than a week. Yet, the past few days, the spotting had stopped and the morning sick was starting. I started to believe that maybe it was possible...but this particular day, at my ultrasound appointment, I found out how cruel the world truly could be. My pregnancy was not meant to be. There was no fetal pole. No yolk sac. No heart beat.
Now I go back to the card that my mom gave me. Because now when I read it. I not only long for her. But I long for what else this card stands for. There is a place in my life...in my heart that only a child can fill. Yet here I am. Without a child. Without my mother. On what's been one of the worst days of my life.
November 18th. I do not care for you.