Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mom's Don't Leave (1)

(This was originally posted on my very first blog in May of 2007 (that I can't link to)...but I have more to add now. So I'll start you off here....)

How do I convince my daughter of that when I am living proof that indeed some moms leave?

Schnuggling before a nap recently, she asked me if I loved my Mommy and Daddy. (Red flags raised..she never mentions my Mom even when I talk about her) Of course, I said yes. She continued to ask, "Who's your Daddy?" (She knows full well the answer to this since we play this game often enough) "Papa" I answered with a smile. Then, she asked a question that I knew was coming but it still totally threw me for a loop.

"Who's your Mommy?"

"Well, my Mommy is 'Bunny'." I replied stiffly, waiting for her next question that was inevitably coming.

"Where is Bunny? My grandma?"

Here we go....

In my head I'm screaming, "I'm not ready for this" repeatedly...over an over. "She's only 3 years and 5 months old! 41 months! How has this concept entered her head so soon? How do I answer her?" "She may not be too young to ask the questions but she is too young to comprehend the answers..."

I began to tell her that Bunny, her grandma, my Mommy is in Heaven. (A concept I'm not too sure of myself...but I was thrown and caught off guard.)

She asked me if I missed her and again, if I loved her and was I sad that she was not here?

How the hell does she do this?

I told her I do miss my Mommy terribly because she isn't here with me and I love her and I wish she was still here with us. I told her I was sad because she never got to meet her and I just know she would love her... the conversation went on for a few more minutes before Fa told me "Not to worry because I'll make you feel better!" She said it to me. To my face. 3.5 years old. She even punctuated it with strong, neck-hugs! I am floored!

Then, she wouldn't let me leave her. She screamed bloody murder like I died a thousand deaths right in front of her, "Papa, Bunny, Mamma...Don't leave me!" "I'm scared you'll leave me!" "Mamma come back, don't leave me alone!"

Heartbreak.

Sheer shattered chest muscle.

You're not breathing, JJ. Breathe.

As I sat there rocking her close to my chest trying my damndest not to smother her with my kisses and trying even harder to convince her that I would never leave her and I will be her mommy forever...I felt guilty.

What if I do leave her?

What if I make her a motherless daughter?

I'm lying to her face.

How will she forgive me for telling her moms don't leave? When they do.

She is too young to be worried about this. She is too smart to not figure it out. She is too sensitive to forget this conversation any time soon.

I am sad that I have left her a legacy of loss and fear of being left alone by mother.

How could I do this to her?

How do I help her understand?

How do I rest her fears?

...Assure her that I am here for her...until she is older and better able to understand...that moms may leave this earth, but they can never be taken from your heart.

13 comments:

  1. Sigh.....

    Out of the mouths of babes......

    God Bless,
    Amy:)

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  2. Oh, sweetie. We have avoided that conversation since my mother is remarried. She asked me the other day who my Daddy was and I said, Grandpa, because I'm not going to begin to try and explain it. Maybe when she's in college. Maybe.
    She still hasn't quite assimilated the fact of my grandfather dying in November. Every now and then she'll say we need to do something for him so he'll feel better.
    I have no words of wisdom. But you have to tell her you will never leave her. Because it's true. You will always be with her inside her heart, even when you aren't physically present.

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  3. According to my mother it is fine to lie to children and old people so lie away dont feel bad. She doesnt need that info just resurance

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  4. I'm sorry you lost your mother.

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  5. First time visitor to your lovely laundryroom...and before you ask...no, my laundry is not done...it's piled up...as usual.

    My loving MIL died shortly after I married her son. She never got to meet any of her 5 granddaughters, but each one of them is so very much like her. Because of this, I know that she is a part of their lives.

    In my house, we refer to my MIL as Angel MomMom. She watches over us and keeps us safe. At night, she visits us in our dreams. For birthdays and holidays, she leaves special Angel Gifts. On Mother's Day and her birthday, we donate to Breast Cancer Awareness in her name.

    It isn't the same as having her with us, but it keeps her memory alive and helps my girls know about this wonderful lady.

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  6. I remember this post ... I also remember feeling envious that you had an answer ... she is in heaven. Whether that is right or not you had an answer. I blubber and spat then distract "Look is that a CAT?"

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  7. Oh, hugs, hugs, hugs and more hugs to you. I have the same conversation with myself. Every. Single. Day. For the past 13 years. And you are so right that our mom's live in our hearts. I also see my mom sometimes in the lives of those who she has touched. Or when I drive away from the gas pump with the nozzle still in it, just like Mom (true story).

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  8. Your last paragraph? That's exactly what I would say. Thanks for saying it so eloquently so I can use it in the future!

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  9. Oddly enough the other day I started to think of my Dad and how devastated I was to lose him. But I was 28 and better equipped to deal with it then my young children would be to lose their mom.
    I contemplated writing a letter to them so that they will know how much I loved them ...something that they could read over and over in their time of need but haven't yet as I agonize over exactly what to write.
    Anyway, a little off topic but your post got me thinking about that "letter" again.

    XO

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  10. That is so hard. I think about that when my boys say stuff like that to me too. Joey tells me every once in a while he doesn't want me to die. I tell him I won't (cuz that is all I can say right now). At this young age they just need reassurance.
    Poor little things.

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  11. WM got me thinking. I'm 28 and my dad is sick with Parkinson's. I don't know how long we'll have with him. My son is only 17 months so if he dies soon he won't have much of a memory of him. It's so hard on two levels, the missing the person yourself and the not having them there for your children.
    I have no words, but I feel for you.

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  12. JJ, it sounds like you did beautifully.

    I read this with tears in my eyes. It's amazing the capacity that kids have to reach straight into our chests, plunge out our hearts and then put them right back in with tenderness beyond their years.

    Wow.

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  13. *hugs*

    I don't have any advice, unfortunately. But reassuring her that she has you isn't exactly the same as lying so don't feel bad about any of that. You're exactly right; she'll be better able to understand when she's older. Those moments will be opportunities to make the bond you two already share even stronger.

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