I’ve talked about this before…. a little. My middle child, Danielle has been gone since right before she turned 17. Today she turns 20. Another birthday without her and yeah, I’m a little sad. I remember the early days, when she first left, I thought I would DIE of the pain in my heart. I really did. Then, I’d convinced myself that she wouldn’t be gone long, because she was a mama’s girl and we were SO close. She would curl up on the couch with me and want me always to hug her and hold her. She’d sing with me and most of the time, it was hard to be mad at her because she’d turn my anger into laughter. I couldn’t look at her with a straight face. I’m laughing now, thinking about it. She was so funny.
Through time, it became evident that she was in trouble. I tried to stop the trouble before it got too out of hand but I didn’t have the support of her father. He was “good time dad” who only wanted to be a hero. He wasn’t there during the bad times to lead her the way he should have. His house became her safe haven away from my rules. She just wanted to be free. I can’t blame her. She got THAT from me.
I worry that she’ll get hurt, out on her own. I’ve mentioned before that she’s shut me completely out of her life because she can’t face me. She also can’t deal with the death sentence I’ve been given. She told others that she wishes I would just go ahead and die so that she could stop worrying about it. To her, I’m already dead. They tell me it’s normal for some kids to distance themselves from a terminally ill parent. It’s not normal to ME. I wouldn’t do something like that to my own parents but I have to realize she’s not me. She’s got her own set of feelings and maybe I just don’t understand the way my children feel. I’ve LONG ago forgiven her and have tried time and time again to open the doors of communication. Short of stalking her, there’s nothing I can do besides wait.
SO, today, on her 20th birthday, like the other three birthdays she’s had without me, I wait. I tell myself, it’s okay. Just as long as she’s alive, there’s hope. My heart will never stop longing for her though. To fill the time, I write her letters and keep a journal so that if something DOES happen to me before she comes back, one day she’ll have what I’ve written to remind her that once there was love. And that she’s always been so special.
Danielle holding baby Esme’
Danielle trying on clothes
The last birthday we celebrated with Danielle when she turned 16. She wanted a Spiderman themed birthday… she’s SO funny.
Danielle and Amber on one of the last family vacations in the Smoky Mountains.
Danielle at an ice cream shop in Enterprise Alabama
Danielle being goofy on a horse in Pigeon Forge TN, another family vacation.
Happy Birthday baby girl.