I went to look at my daughter's blog and saw me as a follower then followed the link and low and behold there I was. Only I was two years older.
Well, a lot has happened in the past two years. "A little bit of magic. And a little bit of tragic" as the Jimmy Buffet song goes.
Tragically, my dear, beautiful daughter died at age 44.
Her father and I adopted her when she was a wee girl at 9 months. She had been in a foster home until then. She was a perfectly formed little girl with an ever present smile and the longest legs I've ever seen on a baby girl. I adored her.
To make a very long, sad story short, she was born to an alcoholic mother and lived her life tormented by genetic alcoholism and bipolar disease. As her mother I loved her with all my heart
to the day she died. I never gave up on her. But on June 1st, 20012, she gave up on herself and took a
bottle of vodka and all her bipolar medications simultaneously while writing notes and listening to music in the front seat of her 2003 silver volkswagon. She just couldn't do it anymore.
I was torn up, cried every day for weeks, wondered if I could have done
anything differently, made a memorial garden, lost my hair, ate everything in sight, banned all my
friends from Facebook who were constantly posting photos of their "complete" families, got
constipated, had diarrhea, didn't wash my hair for a week, never put on makeup, didn't exercise,
painted lots of dumb pictures, tore them up, went through ever photo that was taken since she was born, wanted to go to a third world country and hold black, starving babies, aged ten years in two months (and you know how I feel about that), didn't even like my husband (whom I adore and was there for me
every moment), hid when the door bell rang, wouldn't answer the phone and on and on and on.
I had the greatest support a mother could have after losing her child. And it was not enough.
Until, this Christmas. It all changed.
We live six months in western New York. A beautiful, quaint area called Chautauqua County an hour south of Buffalo. And six months in Fort Myers, Florida.
We have always spent the holidays in Florida and we'd give the kids tickets for Christmas if they
wanted to come and visit. But right after Amy died I told my husband I wanted to come home for the
holidays. He said " if that's what you want to do, we'll do it." Settled.
We arrived back in New York on December 22nd. My sweet husband dragged every living and
non living Christmas thing out of the basement and decorated the entire house. Outside lights and
all. I had planned on putting up the tree with lights sans ornaments. Just enough to get by as we
would be there for only ten days and you know what a pain it is to take it all down after you've
gained ten pounds, and are exhausted from all the holiday parties and rituals. But he wanted to do
it and I was grateful. The house looked beautiful.
As I went up to bed that night I switched on the hall light that guided me up the backstairs to
our bedroom. But it wouldn't go on. I switched it off thinking it must need a new bulb and would
tend to it in the morning. As I was half way up the stairs it went on. Just like that. I knew it was
Amy. I knew she was there.
I felt her presence every day. I felt her sitting next to me on the bed, on the sofa. She was in the
kitchen as I prepared Christmas dinner. Guiding me at every moment. And she was always so
peaceful and smiling and happy.
in one of the guest rooms. We both jumped out of bed. We were the only ones in the house and
it was 30 degrees so there were no windows open. I knew it was her.
As I was sorting through some of my jewelry I came across my Cartier watch that was given to me
on my 50th birthday. I had it repaired four years ago but it stopped working
almost immediately and the jeweler said it would be over a $1,000 to repair it. No thanks. It could
outlive me and it didn't matter that much to me anymore so I tucked it away in a drawer.
This Cartier watch was always Amy's favorite piece of jewelry of mine and I promised it would be hers after I was gone. I knew since she was totally fiscally irresponsible she would pay the $1,000 to have it fixed and enjoy it. This day as I put the watch in the palm of my hand it was running. Perfectly. And I have worn it ever since. She couldn't have it so she wanted me to have it back. I believe that.
I left New York filled with great joy and peace. My son and his girlfriend had come down from Brooklyn and spent the entire week. The house was filled with family, friends, laughter, and a
peace I had not know since that first day in June. Both my kids were there. And they were happy. I have not felt a moment's sadness since I returned to Florida.