Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

It was not a good weekend.

I didn't want to write about Mother's Day. Not. At. All. It is so complex, the emotions around having one living daughter and one dead one. Someone wrote on my Facebook page "I've been thinking of you on this bittersweet day as you mourn for Lucia, but celebrate motherhood with your beautiful Beatrice." It was nice to have someone remember Lucia on Mother's Day and how hard this day would be for me, but inside I was thinking, "This year, it is all bitter."

And if I am celebrating, I am celebrating my motherhood to both of them. I am a mother to both of them--actively a mother to Bea AND Lucy. I love Lucia as much as if she were here, as deeply and completely as I love my Beatrice. And I ache that she is not here. That pain, I absolutely know, is something only a mother feels. I miss Lucia. I just miss her.

And so, what to do on a day when we are to celebrate our mother-ness? I am two separate mothers. I am a creative loving compassionate strong mother, and I am a broken sad bereaved mother. This Mother's Day, instead of celebrating all the ways I am a mother to Beatrice and Lucy, I mourned all the ways I couldn't be a mother, not just to Lucy, but also to Beatrice. To be honest, I couldn't rightly control what came out of me--the tears, the screaming, the aching, the pain, the missing. It came out of me like the early days of this loss. And then Beatrice would crawl on top of me, and say,"Mami crying." And I would feel this sense of overwhelming guilt--a deep guilt that Beatrice's childhood will have this grief, and sadness, and yet this is my family's reality. I cannot protect her from loss, though I desperately wish it were different. I also had a deep guilt for not making Mother's Day as much about Bea as it was about Lucy.

It happens often that guilt creeps into my grief. Not guilt about Lucy's death, but guilt about Beatrice's childhood and happiness. When I think of a new piece of jewelery with Lucy's name, or tweak the design for my Lucy tattoo, or invent a new way of honoring Lucy, I feel guilty that I don't do that for Beatrice. Will she grow up noticing how all my jewelry, my tattoos, my art and my writing is about the daughter that is not there? Will she resent her sister? Will she resent me? I tell Beatrice all the time about how I miss Lucy, how I love Lucy, how I am crying for Lucy. We talk about Lucy. She never met Lucy. Maybe she thinks, who is this Lucy person? Why does Lucy get so much of my mother?

And so, this was my Mother's Day. Complicated. Guilt-ridden. Sad. and now it is over, and I can go back to appreciating being a mother to Beatrice and Lucy instead of the ways in which I am not a good mother to them. But still, in this space where I write about the ways in which Lucy's death has transformed my life, I want to take a minute,the day after Mother's Day, to appreciate Beatrice. She is the light of my life, my giggling heap of girl. When I was about six months pregnant with her, I had a dream where she appeared to me. In the dream, she was a newborn, but talking. She had golden curls and blue eyes. At the time, I thought that was hilarious, and so far out. I mean, I have black hair and dark brown eyes. (She now is blond and blue-eyed.) She told me her name was Stephanie, but I could call her anything I wanted. She also told me she picked me to be her mother, because she remembered how kind and compassionate I was. When I woke up from that dream, I had my first sense of being a mother. Today, I realize that that dream was Beatrice. It is her personality to a T. I am proud of Beatrice in so many ways, not least of which is because she is kind, compassionate, polite, smart, happy, and funny. She makes me feel like I am pretty good at this mothering thing. Everyday, I kiss her nose and say, "Thank you, mijita, for picking me to be your mother." Everyday, I appreciate how lucky I am to be her mother, even if some of those days are spent curled up under the covers mourning my losses.


  1. I'm sorry your day was crummy. You are a wonderful mother to both of your children.. it's harder being a parent to a baby who's 'not here' I feel a great need to do things to keep Dresden here as much as I possibly can.. we NEED things to build memories on for them, memories to share with our other children. I also have wondered if Gwen will think - why does Dresden get a tree, why does Dresden make you cry.. why why? Being 3, she won't remember any of this.. but this strange Dresden will always be hanging around our heads.. but it's important that we share the babies that aren't here with the ones that are. Big hugs to you Angie!

  2. It sounds like your daughter is insightful, and she is learning many good things as you both grieve. She is learning the tough parts of life, but also compassion and caring.

    The jewelry that I most want to get (and save up for) is a nice, modern mother's ring, with our 3 birthstones and room for the next child/ren. All equally loved.

  3. Dear Angie, such big feelings in such a big heart.

  4. Ah, Angie. Your daughter sounds delightful. I am so sorry this tragedy stuck your family. Much love to you & yours.

  5. angie you are an amazing mama to both bea and lucy. and it is so complicated.

    it was a pretty crappy day for me too.

    thank you for sharing that dream that you had when you were pg with bea, that is beautiful. she knows what an amazing loving mother you are, that's why she picked you.

  6. I love your dream about Bea. It's foretelling and sweet all at once.

    I'm sorry you were hurting so much on Mother's Day. I wish I could fix it all for you (and for me). My meltdown came a couple days prior, but it sounds very similar to yours. N (the two-year-old) snuggled up to me and kept asking my husband, "Why Mommy crying?" It's heartbreaking and guilt inducing. Yesterday, I went to E's grave and asked her to help me be more present to her siblings. I know we can't shield them from this grief, but I don't want them to feel that E holds more of my heart than any of them do. That's difficult to express when grief hits.

    I hope you feel a bit more peace today, friend.

  7. Oh, wow. I go through a very similar roller coaster of emotions. Right now I'm in my room mourning a bird while L.O. is in the living room , alone, watching cartoons. I constantly battle guilt and grief.
    I hope the week gets better and maybe some relief will come now that Sunday is all over.
    love you

  8. Guilt - it comes with the territory for mothers, I think ... and when you're a bereaved mother - urgh. And it isn't fair because we didn't ask for this and we are picking our way along this treacherous path without any idea really how to do it.

    I LOVE your description of Bea, "my giggling heap of girl" - so precious.

    *hugs* Angie.

  9. Big hugs Angie. You're right, these losses are so complicated. Be it your first, second, third or fourth child. Or any other child for that matter. None of us should outlive our babies.

  10. I understand this complexity, the battle in my mind of mothering the living and the dead. So hard to do. This whole thing is such a battle, mostly played out in my head.

    Sending you love. xxx

  11. What a beautiful dream about Bea!

    I'm so sorry the weekend was so rough for you.


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