The Daughter that Used to Be


Sometimes I miss my daughter more than others. This morning is one of those times.

Whatever your political leanings, it’s true that this is a historic day in American history, and I wish I had my girl to share that with.

I wonder what she would have been life. I wonder what she would have looked like. By now she’s be 24, graduated, maybe even grad school. Working. On her second or third love.

Who knows?

That’s the trickiest part of being the parent of a dead child.

The “who knows” part.

It’s like a painful mystery that never gets resolved. I try not to think about it too much, but you guys, on some days – times like right now – my heart just aches for the young woman I never get to meet.

Still, I go on.

I keep moving. I make supper for her brothers. I send love and support and cash and whatever else they need to make their own way in the world.

I love all the women they have picked. I’m proud of them for seeing how smart they each are in love.

But today is this historic day. And I want a daughter to share it with. Someone who “get’s it.”

And so I called every woman I love and shared a moment on the phone with each (or their answering machines.)

I fill the void in whatever way I can. And then I just sit with the emptiness that remains.

I’m with her, but she is no longer with me.
And that’s just part of the whole big beautiful picture of my life.

Blessed Be,

Jennifer (Grace’s mom)

photo: Erin Leigh McConnell, flickr

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2 Responses to The Daughter that Used to Be

  1. Ann Marie says:

    I can’t begin to relate to your loss. As a child-free woman, I can never fully understand the parent-child bond. Being an aunt, I can only begin to imagine how much you miss her, especially on such a historic day.

    Today, I’m grateful for my nieces (all 9 of them, 8 are voting age). I’m sure some of them voted differently than I did. That’s fine. As long as they vote. It’s the fact that they seem matter-of-fact about voting for a woman today both bothers and elates me. Bothers me because I want to shake them and say, “Do you realize how many people struggled and fought for this? How they are still struggling and fighting?” and thrilled because they can look at me and say, “Well, of course a woman can run for president. A woman can do anything.”
    I’m keeping in touch with my women friends today. Younger, but mostly those from my generation, who feel today very deeply in our hearts.

  2. Jen – sending hugs for your loss, and thanks for sharing.

    I cannot imagine the pain.

    I have spent the last 24 hours planning a will, and one of the things I am thinking about is how it would be for my mother if I go before she does.

    And the other thing I am thinking about is how one of my daughters (extremely politically active at 17) left our home at 15 and, though alive, is not there for me to talk to, hug, laugh with, make supper for, or anything. She has withdrawn from me and her twin brother and older sister to live with the man who abandoned us all. As I wrote in a recent blog post, it is like having a phantom limb. I really don’t know how to deal with this loss. I cannot make sense of it and it hurts. I feel the loss of the child I was close to for 15 years, who is a stranger now. It really hurts.

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