Dear Daughter I Miss You
I lay in the shadow of your being, the shallow well your long body has left in the mattress. This side of the bed that was your home for the last four years. A real “big girl” bed – a queen for a princess - where you sat reading, skyping, watching NCIS, sometimes even studying. The sweet smell of you, your shampoo, your make-up, even your tears of the last few days fill my nose as I bury my face in your pillow. It is cool to my touch, your warmth having left it hours ago in the early morning.
I can imagine your body in my arms, the softness of your beauty and innocence giving way under my hand on your cheek, your arm, your waist. How I loved to hold you and rock you, to nurse you and love you, to comfort you even when you were almost the same height and weight as me. Pulling you in to my lap, you were my baby always. How I regret those times when I was pulled by life and quick to gently push you away, too busy or depleted to shell out one more hug.
I look out at your room from this foreign vantage point and see what you have seen. The white ceiling, blue chair, closets hung with clothes, trees outside your window, your beloved books. All this taken in each night before you put out your light and each morning when you were roused too early or slept in past too late.
I spy the door that you decorated with butterfly and note board and slammed in my face more than once. The door I would argue should stay open. The door you needed to close in order to spread your wings and try on your independence, your privacy, to steal yourself from me, from your sisters, from the world pressing in too hard at times.
I turn my cheek to the cool pillowcase again and breathe deep, feeling the swell begin in my heart – the heralding of pain and tears. Pain I have pushed aside for the last two days while I tended to others. Pain that had no room as I held your screaming baby sister in my arms, watching helplessly as she fought with the reality of loss again. Pain that had to wait as I hugged your sad, frightened sister who was scared of high school and just wanted her big sister to be with her this first year at her new school. Pain I was – I guess – embarrassed to let spill over as your friends came to weep in your arms.
I reach over to touch the other side of your bed, and it hits me. I can no longer look across into your eyes as we lay horizontal beside each other. My heart screams for the touch of your skin, the silkiness of your hair across my face and the tears begin to fall, pouring out from where I had stuffed them until you were gone.
God I miss you so.