As night falls over my minute backyard I sit here bawling. Silent and giant tears. Tears of panic and misery. Tears that feel indulgent and necessary.
Every year, just as I think I’m going to get through another April without the overwhelming pain of losing a parent too young, it hits me. Some years it takes until April 30, and some years, this one included, it hits a bit early.
I know it’s in large part because of the book I’m reading.
[spoiler ahead–but not one you wouldn’t know early on]
I loved Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (and the subsequent HBO series by the same name), so as soon as completing that one I jumped into her The Husband’s Secret. I’ve had a harder time getting into it, but as nicer weather and the ability of reading outside became a reality, I slowly got into it between Keely’s bedtime and my own. I’m nearing the end and the pain of the characters have become my own. As one character mourns the premature loss of her daughter, I think of my own.
But I don’t give way to thoughts of losing Keely at a young age. That’s self-indulgent and too painful. I’ve pushed them as far away as possible. I have no experience in that. It’s unfathomable. It’s a construct of my imagination.
I do have experience in losing my dad at 13. That is something real to me. It was 15 years ago, but the the pain can still be so completely tortuous at times. Even more so as I project that onto Keely and Derek.
I don’t know or have a reference point for losing your spouse. I only have the loss of a parent. That combined with a parent’s love, makes it so much worse than I ever thought. I take solice in the fact that Keely will never know the hardships I went through as an adolescent…but the reality is I don’t know that for a fact. What if something traumatic does happen to Derek? What if it happens to both of us? What can I say or do that makes it not hurt for her the way it did for me?
As dark has completely fallen on me and my thoughts (and fingers) have run free, I feel a bit better and a bit ridiculous. It is my deepest hope that Keely doesn’t experience losing a parent too young. I want to be jealous that her dad was there for high school, graduations, college, and getting married. I want to always be jealous of the very real bond the two of them share. It’s the good kind of jealous. I feel this jealousy constantly, but when I put it in the context of Keely, it feels right. It feels like what, as a mother, I should feel.