Bonnie Rae’s Daughter

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I was driven mostly by grief. Something cataclysmic had happened to me and I needed an outlet for all the new, overwhelming feelings that accompanied my mother’s death. I wrote about things I often couldn’t say out loud. Over the months that followed, I kept writing and created a journal of life’s adventures and realizations.

And for months, I wrote nothing.

Today, on the two-year anniversary of my mother’s death, I want to write again. The memories of that day and the ones that followed are still painful. The burden of Mom’s prolonged struggle and the trauma of watching her take her last breath left me scarred and changed. Losing her altered the way the world feels. It left me with an identity crisis from which I have yet to recover.

I miss being Bonnie Rae’s daughter. I realize now how much I relished this role. The highs and lows of loving her and of being loved by her will never be matched. Being my mother’s oldest daughter with our history and drama is a bigger part of me than I ever acknowledged…so much of who I am. 

After 730 days without her, here are the things I am missing:

• Knowing she is in the world, doing her own thing 100 miles away

• Knowing she is waiting at the end of my excited, rock-and-roll blaring,
   very fast drives to Cache Valley

• Laughing with her and Dad at the kitchen table

• Talking with her for hours, sitting at each end of the comfy couch

• Her thankfulness and gratitude for every gift or kindness

• Her southern grace and reserve

• Her drop-everything-to-listen and be-with-you charm

• Her smell

• Her voice and the way she said my name

Now I am her.

I am the mother. And like her, I have three daughters…it is melancholy mothering déjà vu. Not surprising, I feel Mom’s spirit (and miss her most) when I am with my girls. They crave and seek my acceptance of their individuality. It insures that my relationship with each is unique and evolving…I love that. They energize me with their perspective and opinions. They make me think. They make me laugh. Being with them lifts me up.

I also secretly believe that some of their youthful beauty rubs off on me with every hug.

Like Mom did with me and my sisters, I sometimes can’t separate myself from my daughter’s struggles. I worry and hurt with and for them. And I am humbled by all the times my dramas sent Mom sprawling on her bed in tears.

Being a mother to daughters has helped me see Mom in a more compassionate, empathetic light. Parenting is hard. She never gave up trying to get it right, even though her childhood was filled with poverty, anger and desperation.

She used to tell me, “It is never too late to try again to do better.”

For all the remaining days that I am blessed to be a mother, I will cherish most what I learned from being Bonnie Rae’s daughter.

I miss you Mom….


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Josephine
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 19:34:50

    What a lovely post and tribute to Mom. Your daughters give you a unique perspective on mothering, and I see you taking what Mom gave us and achieving what often eluded her. Even though I'm a little jealous of the mutual admiration the two of you shared, I am touched by its beauty.


  2. Leah
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 16:22:01

    Wow, I can't believe I came across this blog, just while searching for photos of mothers for my blog. This is such a beautiful story and was very touching. This story not only reaches those women who have lost their mothers but also is a great reminder for those who still do have their mothers, to cherish every moment.
    I am shocked that I cam across this because I went to school with your gorgeous twins! What are those odds!
    Keep writing mama, because you are making a difference! You reminded me today to never take my mother for grated. EVER! Thank you for that!


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