We're schnuggling in bed again.
A year later.
Except this time Fa comes right out with it. No more beating around the bush.
Fa: "Do you miss your mom?"
Oh god, don't cry J, don't cry...
Me: "Yes, baby I do miss her terribly."
F: "Where is she? What happened to her?"
M: "Well baby, my mommy was very sick, too sick for her body to keep her here with me and well baby, she died."
What the hell DO I say? This kid knows about death now. Her fish died a few months ago.
M: "Remember when Goldie died?"
F: "Yeah, and we flushed her down the toilet?"
M: "Well, that's what happens when you are very, very old or very sick. But we don't flush people down the toilet."
F: "Do you miss her? Why can't I see her? Why can't I meet her? Will you get sick? What if you die? Will I die? Will Daddy Die?"
How does she do that? How does she ask these thoughtful questions?
M: "Baby, death is a part of life and when we get very, very, very, very old. SO old we won't be able to dance anymore, then our bodies stop working because they can't take care of us anymore, and we die."
F: "How old were you when your mom died?"
M: "Well baby, my mom died when I was pretty young. I was a teenager...way older than you are now. But remember, she was very sick. And I had my daddy, (Papa) and Auntie and other family and friends to take care of me when that happened."
F: "What will I do when you die? Where will you go when you die? Why can't I see your mom? I won't see you either!"
M: "Honey, you are stuck with me forever! I'm sticking around here until I'm all old, and wrinkly and mean and nasty because I don't like being old and wrinkly. You think I'm cranky NOW? I'm gonna be so annoying to you that you'll be trying to run away from me, I'll be so old. And I'll be screaming after you in my electric wheel chair telling you to come and change my diaper."
You see, humor saves everything in my head.
M: (Watching her crack a smile) "And you know, my mommy is tucked deep in my heart and I have her with me all the time now. Even when I miss her most and I can't see her. I know she is in my heart and keeping me safe and happy. Because she will ALWAYS be with me, even if she isn't here to talk to."
F: "So since you are already in my heart, you'll stay there forever?"
Damn, she's good.
M: "Yes baby! You know when we kiss each other we always say we'll keep it in our hearts forever? Well, think about all the smooching we do, our hearts are already filled up with kisses and love...think about that." (As I proceed to kiss her all over her face and shoulders and just practically smothering her with kisses...so she will laugh and change the fricken' subject already.) "See, all that love? It will be with you forever."
F: "I'll be your mom, I'll take care of you?"
GOD DAMN, this kid is awesome.
M: "Thank you so much sweet, sweet baby! But I don't want you to be my mom. I want you to be my baby girl so I can keep being your mommy and love you and take care of you as long as you need me. Remember, I have a mommy we just can't see her. But we can talk to her and talk about her whenever you want to. I love talking about my mom, especially with you."
That pretty much ended that conversation. She seemed content with all that I told her and didn't freak out like the last time.
So I kissed her goodnight one more time, so proud that I held it together to maintain calm and cool while touching upon something that is still so raw in my chest all these years later.
But I'll do anything for this child. Even if its ripping my own heart to shreds.
Then, I went into the bathroom and proceeded to cry for a half hour.