By Claire Bidwell Smith
This week marks 18 years since my mother died. Exactly half my life ago. Every day after January 24th, 2014 will mean that I have been alive longer without her, than with her.
My mother, my beautiful, glowing mother. It seems impossible that she’s been gone for so long.
Almost two decades later, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.
For a long time I didn’t understand how I could feel that way. I chastised myself for continuing to miss her so much, for knowing that I would never not long for her.
And then I had you, Vera, and you, Jules. And I became a mother myself. I wrapped my arms around you, your little breaths hot and quick on my neck. I learned how to rock you to sleep, how to pick you up when you fell, how to make you giggle, how to make your eyes light up with wonder. I held you closer than I’ve ever held anyone and I vowed that I would never, ever let you go.
I knew then, how it could be that I would never not long for my own mother.
This bond between us — the one between she and I, and the ones between you and me — is something utterly intangible, unbreakable, and unstoppable. Nothing, not distance or silence or chaos or death, could ever undo this connection we have.
Mothers are mysterious creatures. For us women, they at once anchor us and support us. They hold us back and teach us how to go forth. We rebel against the women they are, and we desperately try to become the women they are. I know that throughout your lifetimes you will push and pull against me as only daughters can do.
There will be times when you loathe me, when you question every decision I have ever made, when you frown upon all the things that I am. And there will be other times in which you try to fit your very shadow to match mine, times in which you wish with everything you are that you could be me. These swifts kicks and tugs will overlap so many times that you may never be quite sure what it is you want from me.
I’ve had a lot of time to review the woman my mother was. A lot of time in which to feel angry with her, or in awe of her. I’ve adored her and despised her, even in death. Such is the nature of a daughter’s love.
Even now, 18 years after her death, I can feel her all around me, her existence inextricably linked to mine. The thing is that I couldn’t shake her even if I tried. That she lived and loved me at all, is more than enough to make her a part of my world every day. I hope the same is true of me to you…
[Read the rest of the article on the Huffington Post]