My Daughter’s Voice

My Daughter's Voice - MarikaInMoon - Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops her daughter who died of leukemia at age 20, Marika Warden, in front of a full moon.“I have a message for you from your daughter,” I was told twice after my daughter died. “She wants you to know she’s all right,” was the gist of each message. But I was already engaged in conversation with her.

A year after Marika died the messages from family and friends were mixed: get over it; take all the time you need to grieve; let her go; you will never get over this. Talking to mothers whose children died decades ago, I learned that losing a child is not something one gets over. Ever.

“Stay with me,” I begged Marika as I walked her dog and looked up at a full moon. Nighttime in the driveway was the time and place I felt closest to her. Sometimes there was no moon. Sometimes I reached out to her in the middle of the day. After a while she followed me on my hikes in nearby gorges and I heard her voice whenever I passed a sushi stand in my travels.

I had talked to my daughter before she was even born. She would kick me and I’d watch my middle bulge and change shape. When she was a baby she echoed my words. As a toddler she asked a lot of questions. She boldly talked back to me as a young child. It wasn’t until she was a teenager trying to break free of me that our communications broke down. Then, when she was a young adult, during the almost-three years in the wilds of cancer, in and out of hospitals together, we hardly talked. But I’m talking to her now.

She kicks me. And almost daily I hear, “You can do this, mom,” and “Mom, get a life,” and – “Sushi?”

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14 thoughts on “My Daughter’s Voice

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  4. SusanB

    This is why we manage to go on in our lives rather than jump off a bridge with hearts cracked in half and no hope in any corner. There IS a chance we’re gonna see these loved ones of ours again. Thanks Robin.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Susan, I think I just discovered your blog site. It’s beautiful. Somehow I’ve been bumping into you online for a while, recognizing your headinmyhands handle. But my brain is kinda mashed from that jump off the bridge, I guess. Thank you for being out there.

      Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yeah, that “kick” from the other side is often what can keep you going. I’m getting to love FB and Twitter and meeting other bereaved parents but it takes hearing that little voice with a kick in it to get me out there and over my shyness. Thank you, Elaine.

      Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Hi Kirsten. It’s amazing how we feel and respond to our children’s kicks. Thanks for checking in. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. Linda Lochridge

    Robin. I just finished a beautiful book called “Rare Bird,” by Anna Whiston-Donaldson that I think you would love. I too saved the T-shirt of my brother, the sweatshirt with the pen and ink drawings of animals all over it of my mother’s, a ring of my father’s. The woman in this book lost her son. Her journey and writing reminds me of yours. It may help you get your manuscript out to the world. You are amazing. Keep writing.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thank you, Linda. I just purchased RARE BIRD and am loving it. I also love your words, “You are amazing.” Cheers!

      Reply
  6. lynne

    Robin,
    I am so touched by your heartfelt writing thru these past years. And this week’s blog was very interesting to me becos even tho my Mum died over 20 years ago and Dad even longer I still talk to them and ‘hear’ them when something I see, or hear reminds me of them. Like Marika for you, they will never go away, nor do I ever want them to.
    And, I think the title you chose for your blog is absolutely spot on….and, you’ve proved it!

    Lynne

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thank you Lynne. It means so much to me that you have kept up with my writing all this time. Love the voices. Their voices may be the best things they left us. Cheers!

      Reply

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