Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Good Job, Mom"

My daughter always asked me, “Mom, when are you going to write the great American novel?

I would smile, first thinking of how good it made me feel to know my daughter Marcy considered me a good writer. Then thinking, “Could I really do it?” Of course I could. “One day, I said to her. “One day.”

I never dreamed that my great American novel would first turn into a tribute to my daughter in the form of a book on surviving grief and end up being a catharsis for me. I never dreamed I would, ten years later, continue to want to help others and write a second book on surviving grief, still dedicated to my daughter.

I find whatever I do in life now is a reflection of how I want my daughter to be proud of me. “Good, job,” I can hear her say. She would say that a lot, whether I won an award, bought a new car, or dressed fashionably in her eyes. When she and her fiancé went to Maui and stayed in my newly purchased condo in the early ‘90’s, she wrote in my guest book, “We loved it here. It’s perfect. We plan to come back soon. Good, job, mom.” Of course, it was never to be. She died less than a year later.

When I speak at a bereavement conference, write an article for a magazine or decorate my home, my husband says, “Good job.” And I smile, always thinking of how Marcy would have agreed with him.

I believe our children who have died are always with us in one way or another. I believe they guide us when we have important decisions to make. I believe they watch over us when we need them by our side. And I believe they encourage us to do important things in life to make us better people.

I can still feel Marcy hugging me when she was leaving for the airport the last time I saw her. Her body felt so soft as she leaned into my outstretched arms. As she walked away, I thought, “This beautiful person was my creation, and boy, did she turn out to be special.” She turned once to wave and all the enthusiasm, vibrancy and love emanated from her to me, as if she was telling me this would be the last time we’d be together. I never foresaw that. Only love poured from me to her.

Will I write the great American novel? Perhaps. One day. I’ve got a lot left to do in my lifetime, one of them being to fulfill Marcy's request. She will always be in my heart, continue to guide me and be there for me every step of the way. I hope I will make her proud and hear her say in my mind one day when I finish that book, “Good job, Mom!”

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