Today is January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, the last day of Christmas. It’s also the 26th anniversary of my mother’s death.
And it’s the day my little girl got a letter from none other than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
I have written before, so many times, about my mother’s death. Writing is a way to track my grief, to understand how it has changed me, and how grief itself changes over time.
Grief never dies, but it does change. And as I have grown older, it has taken on a different focus: motherhood has taught my that my mother’s loss was greater than mine.
I lost so much time with her. For years, my life felt like a collection of moments that I didn’t get to share with her. Those moments still come, but now when they come I also feel the pain of the other side of loss. Her side.
Because she lost so much more. She lost time with me and time with my brother. She lost time with the grandchildren she never got to meet. She didn’t get to be there to see me graduate high school, or college, or graduate school. Or to see me get married, or to welcome the births of my babies. She missed milestones and all the little moments in between.
When your parent dies at the age of 42, there is a pretty good chance you will, at some point, think about yourself also dying at a young age. Especially once you are in the same phase of life your parent was in at the time of their death.
I’m in that phase now, and this is what I know: I can’t imagine any loss greater than losing time with my children.
Over the last two weeks, people all over the world have come to know a slice of my beautiful girl’s character and her beautifully unique outlook on life.
But my mother, the person my daughter is named after, missed it all.
I’ve been here, and as far as I know I will still be here for decades to come, watching my girls grow, experiencing the milestones and the moments in between. That is my greatest joy.
Today, my greatest sadness is for my mom, who has missed so much.