Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Letter to Lou: How I Feel

I love you.

I miss you.

I miss your smile. I miss your laugh; the sound of your voice. I miss your energy. I miss your spark. I miss your attitude. I miss your independance. I miss your enthusiasm. I miss your determination. I miss your love of life.

I miss talking to you. I miss your hugs. I miss your love.

I miss these things and more, not only because you're not here, but because you're not you anymore.

You have become a stranger to us in so many ways. The Lou you are now, is not the Lou we have loved and raised for 17 years. THAT Lou would not have settled. THAT Lou would not sacrifice her values; her family.

I'm also missing the experience of my daughter's first baby. My first grandchild. I don't get to share in that "pregnant glow." Your excitement at feeling the baby move. I don't get to hear your dreams for your baby; for your future. I don't get to hold your hair back when you're sick; or rub your back. I don't get to touch your tummy and talk to the baby ... tell the baby Gramma Chelle is here, and I can't wait for him/her to arrive. I don't get to share my stories of my pregnancy with you. I don't get to share the excitement of shopping for your first baby. My first grandchild. All those firsts, that I have been forever shut out from.

Like the enemy.

Like someone you needed protection from. Like someone my grandchild needs to be protected from.

And the very people who Kmaq professes to hate, are the same ones who you are surrounding yourself with. The ones who Kmaq told me spent his entire life telling him he was a "screw up" and "would never grow up to be anything" are the ones who are going to have an influence in my grandchild's life. The dysfunctional people who filled Kmaq's life with anger, hatred, violence and alcoholism.

And your family, for whatever reason, is excluded. Isolated. You can't spend time with us. We can't take you shopping. He refuses to contact you on the phone your Aunt bought you for your birthday. You can't even tell Kmaq that we bought you a new shirt. The minimal contact you do have with us in done on the sly. Hidden. Lied about.

Like it's wrong.

I can't pretend to understand. I can't pretend it's ok.

I spend hours awake at night when I should be sleeping. I spend a lot of time crying. I'm sick to my stomach. I go from starving myself to gorging myself. I go from sadness to angry so fast that I don't even know where one starts and the other ends. And the cycle continues. I try to figure out how things got this way. What did we do wrong? What can we do to fix it?

I don't even want to go Christmas shopping. I get out into the stores and I'm drawn to the baby section ... only to be smacked in the face with the reality that I'm not involved. Not allowed. It makes me sad, and I just want to go home and crawl under the covers. Hide from everyone. Hide from the choices you've made. Hide from the way you make me feel.

People ask about you all the time. All I can do is fake a smile, take a deep breath and swallow my tears ... and tell them I don't know. I guess you're doing well. I assume things are ok. I feel like an idiot. What kind of mother doesn't know how her daughter is?

I ask Gingo if she's heard from you. It's clear from her reaction that she has. She gets uncomfortable. Tells me she hasn't and then will do anything she can to avoid the subject. To get away from me. Clearly she doesn't want to betray the trust and confidence of the big sister who she absolutely adores and admires. But she also doesn't want to lie to her mom. I don't want to make her have to choose. So I avoid Gingo.

I feel like a monster. Like a terrible person who doesn't deserve the love of her daughter, and doesn't deserve to love her grandchild. I ask myself what have I done to deserve to be treated this way?

I've "adopted" a family for Christmas. A young single mom. I will shop for her and her child in lieu of being able to shop for my own daughter and grandchild. I will hope she appreciates the love that my gifts come with. I will hope it brightens their Christmas and puts a smile on their faces. I will hope my love and support is welcomed in the lives of strangers, where it's not welcomed in yours.

And I hope with every ounce of my being that it makes me feel a little better about myself.