In the last decade, I’ve learned to live without you. I’ve learned who to call when I have a problem, or who to ask about pie crust. I’ve learned to seek out the wisdom of others and how to be there for someone else behind me on the journey.
I’ve learned how to be a parent without your guidance
I’ve learned how to grow dahlias and roses and agapanthus. Just like you. What to do about a diaper rash and croup. How to roast a turkey, host a dinner party, and convince a toddler to eat their greens.
When to give them grace, and when to hold the line. When to call in reinforcements, and when to just hug them while they cry.
But I haven’t learned how to handle rejection, uncertainty and worry. If there is one person in the world I could run to when the world locked me out, it was you. You were my safety, my haven. The place of unconditional love and acceptance. The place where I could always be assured of empathy, encouragement, and someone to stroke my hair.
This journey is long. It’s not a road I ever wanted to travel without you. I still get angry, at times, that you’re not here. It’s not fair.
It’s not fair.
We would have had a lot of fun together. I would still call you late at night because of something funny that happened, and you would still be up, and we would giggle in the dark, just like we always used to do.
We would go to lunch, or just for coffee and we’d try on clothes, just for fun. I would make sure you never dressed your age, and you would pretend to be scandalized at some of the stuff I wear.
We would have had so much fun together.
I’d know when to expect my hair to go gray and someone to ask about menopause, and what’s our family history of heart disease.
We’d work in ministry together, and sometimes, we’d even share a podium like Susan Giboney and Carrie Wall. We’d read each others’ minds, just like we always have, and we’d always get along because you are the golden retriever and I am the otter, and it is always just so easy for us to have fun.
I’ve learned to live without you, mom, but I haven’t learned to accept it.
I don’t think I ever will.