For me, one of the saddest things about losing Clair when we did is that she and I had reached a point in our mother daughter relationship that felt “normal.”
Most of her life, I struggled to help her have a taste of normal in almost every aspect of her life. I wanted her to have the blessings of the regular.
I worked behind the scenes-always looking for gluten-free choices, fun things she would like to do, grown-up clothes from the girls department. It would irk the hell out of her when someone would get her “little girl” clothes. In a very real way, I was a “child mom” long after other moms had the opportunity to be “adult moms.”
I had started to pull back a bit last January. Nothing official, I just wanted to stretch out the times between visits. She was doing well at her new home. The warm friendship that flowed between her and her roommates, the celebration of her 27th birthday and the almost decade of medical stability (stable but still very fragile) told me it was time to let her fly. It was wearing on me a bit too. I had some health issues, but more than that I had a nagging thought that I was doing too much for her and not enough for me.
By October, she’d dredged up a few dramas-anytime you have four girls in the same house-with disabilities or not-you will have drama. I had to put the brakes on calling me at the office. It felt appropriate. It had become a daily habit. I felt pulled away from my work and found it hard to get back into after hanging up from the circular conversation. She also needed to learn to solve things for herself.
I regret it now, for I cut her off from the people at work for the last few months of her life.
When we had what was to be out last weekend visit at my house, it felt like things had shifted. She talked and she listened; she had always viewed the world through only her own eyes but today she . It was moving in the direction of a more grown up mom and daughter relationship. I danced for the first time in front of her. We sang Motown classics using our egg whisks as microphones as we made breakfast. For, the first time, I felt the friendship I had wanted with her for most of her adult life. I also felt something I had wanted with Viv. I was so hopeful and happy that our relationship was finally evolving.
Winter dragged on. I didn’t get her at all in February. I had planned on getting her the first week in March, but life had other plans for her. We spent that weekend in the hospital and took her off life support on Monday.
I think what I miss most is the future and what our relationship might have become. I am deeply saddened for what I will not ever have.