Today marks a year since you left this planet. In case you were wondering, your mom is still mad. I can’t seem to get beyond that feeling. Every now and again, the sorrow manages to break through for a few minutes. But then I get angry again. You and I know a little about being mad. We learned that being mad was usually a response to fear and sorrow. And that it was important to look beyond the mad, to what was lying underneath.
Somehow, I haven’t been able to do that yet. Not in the way that would show a role model of emotional health and smart coping techniques. Instead, I lock it down and throw myself into another project, another cause, anything to distract myself from the feeling that I failed you, that I caused this by holding you to the rules and expectations of our family.
So, yes, I’m still mad and if I am honest with us both, I don’t really want to stop being mad. Because I don’t want to feel the terrible heartbreak of your loss. To know that your life stopped, that you won’t be growing up past 16. That I’ll never see grow and struggle with adulthood, with kicking ass and getting back up again when you fall. To know that I won’t be able to have to look up to you to hug you. To know that I won’t ever get see you find someone who wants to spend their life with you or at least the forseeable future, to know that you won’t meet the people who have come to mean something to me, or to hear you say the same things to your children that I once said to you.
Some people would say that I should focus on the positive, the memories and times that we had and learn to accept and move on. But I am not ready to do that. I think this is what it ultimately means to be a parent, to love someone so completely and be so angry at them at the same time. If that is the test of parenthood, I think I have that one covered.
I don’t know why you made the choice that you did. I don’t know if it was an accident, a last minute change of heart, or deliberate. Knowing that answer wouldn’t make the reality any better, you are still gone.
What doesn’t change, is that you were loved and still are. And there’s no way you can ever get away from that fact. I remember you telling me that there was “NO WAY I am ever going to tell you I love you” as if that would cause me to take it back, to withdraw. My answer to you was “Doesn’t matter if you tell me or not, it doesn’t change how I feel about you.” The look on your face was pretty good, it was a combination of “Huh, now what? Not the answer I was expecting.” I have to say, confusing you with the unexpected was one of the greatest joys I have ever had. I used to delight in outsmarting you because I knew it was teaching you new things and ultimately teaching you what it meant to be part of a family that loved you. You had all of the street smarts and survival strategy skills that had worked so many times before. But I had the magic weapon, I was determined to make you see what we saw in you, the people who believed in and loved you.
We love you, Raven.