As I lay feeding you tonight, watching your eyes grow heavy and your breath deepen, I wondered what you would want to know about me one day, if I were to die. I imagined you sitting on a beach, lost in thought. I imagined your Aunty coming to you, and I imagined you asking her about me. It made me sad, seeing you there, staring at the stars and the waves, with your toes digging holes and your fingers massaging the sand as I love to do.
I wondered what she would say; what people would tell you, if I were gone.
I hope that they will tell you how much I loved you. How I carried you in a sling on my chest even when it was hot, so that we could ‘talk’ about everything we saw. How I slept with you in my bed so that I could hear your breathing in the night, and how that calmed me. How I let you crawl around in just your nappies because I loved the pretty wraps we bought you.
I hope that they will tell you that I wanted you for so long, that I waited for you, dreamed about you and cried for you and that your coming has completed me. I was happy before you, and Daddy and I were good together, but when you came it was as if a girl became a woman. We made you, together, and I built you and I birthed you, but I also birthed me.
I became a woman, reached the culmination of years of preparation, in my body, in my mind. And it was because you came to us. You make me feel like everything I have worked for and wanted is here, like I am finally on the right track.
I hope that they will tell you that I was kind, that I cared about others. That I felt sad for children who weren’t loved as much as you, and that I cried sometimes, when the hardship of other people’s lives weighed heavily on me.
I hope they will tell you that I had a very guilty conscience. I could never do anything knowingly wrong, because guilt would be written on my face! I hate airport customs and immigration, because I always look like I’m hiding something, even if I’m not. I hope Aunty D will tell you about our trip to Thailand and how scared I was and how she laughed at me. It was funny, really, but not for me at the time!
I hope they will tell you that I worked hard. I was totally dedicated and committed and when I believed in something, wanted something or focused on something, I was a force worth noting. I took extreme pride in my work. Like my father, I felt that the way you work is a reflection on who you are. I hated disappointing anyone, which sometimes meant I had to do way more than I should have.
I was really hard to offend. I always felt that life was too short to hold a grudge. Forgiving and forgetting isn’t something you do for the other person, but for yourself, so that you can have an uncomplicated life.
As much as I knew everyone has their own opinion and a right to their own opinion, I still struggled to hold my tongue when I thought they were wrong. I wanted them to at least listen to what I had to say, even if they didn’t agree, just as I would listen to them, even if I didn’t agree.Â I was just so passionate about the things I believed in – perhaps it’s the Italian in our blood.
Your Daddy was once asked what I feared most, and he answered that my biggest fear is that I’ll be forgotten. He was right, really. I fear forgetting and being forgotten. For the record, I also fear abandoned hospitals and zombie children, but fortunately I don’t have much to do with either of those.
I know that the people who loved me would be able to tell you lots of funny stories about me, a few sad ones and a few that you might wish you could have asked me more about yourself.
Fortunately for us, I do believe in heaven, and I believe that one day we will be able to sit and talk together, but in the meantime, my darling child, if I should not be around to see you grow, I trust there will be people who can tell you all this and much more, and I trust that they will love you in my stead, so that you will never have to be alone.
All my love,