Others’ Daughters

NICOLEPACKSExactly a year ago, on April 4th, I broke my nose on my return from Australia where I’d gone alone to scatter my daughter’s ashes. April 4, 2013 marks two years and one month since Marika died. It seemed like a good time to end my book.

Over these past two years, I noticed that almost all my friends still had daughters.

“Will it be okay if my daughter joins us?” they asked, at first hesitantly, nervous I’d feel uncomfortable. But I quickly found I enjoyed having the daughters with us. Their energy and interests, the places and things they get themselves into and out of fascinate me.

“Everything has to fit in my pack and weigh less than twelve pounds. I should carry only ten percent of my body weight,” says Nicole, my friend Liz’s daughter, as she shows me what she will bring for her hiking trip on the Camino de Santiago Trail in Spain and France. Behind the camera I smile in awe of all her careful calculations and planning. On her blog-site, Nicole Takes a Walk, I sympathize as she adjusts her plan due to a knee problem.

My friends’ daughters do not remind me of my own. All daughters are remarkable in their own ways so I listen to what they say. I don’t want to erase them or pretend they don’t exist. After all, half the people in the world are daughters.

On April 4, 2013, the day I have designated as my book’s ending parameter, I am at the library in a new writers group of twenty strangers. We go around the circle to read what we have written the past hour. The woman next to me has just begun her memoir. She is about my age. She reads the first pages about her mother who cleans, cares and holds home together. Her mother who she hates to disappoint … I half-hear what she reads as I ready myself to read next. Then suddenly her words smash into me like a seismic sea wave. This woman is a cancer survivor. She is reading about how she felt when she had to tell her mother she had cancer. Here is a Daughter with cancer writing about her Mother.

The woman is my age. She does not remind me of my daughter. But I feel if I listen, I might hear my own story, how it would have sounded if my world had not turned upside down two years ago. If Marika had lived and one day found herself at the Library in a writers group.

Whose words grab your attention? Has your curiosity ever been stirred by a stranger?

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2 thoughts on “Others’ Daughters

  1. Pingback: Make Life Better for Others | ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE - EVEN JOY

  2. Tori de Clare

    We all carry sadness. Our circumstances and the people most precious to us are unique. My son has had depression on and off for seven years. He’s 25 now and is currently at home having cut himself off from all his friends and the rest of the world. Family is tolerable; pressure and stress are not, so he avoids any – will go to any length to avoid any form of pressure, which routinely involves ignoring the outside world. My son is incredibly smart. He muddled through a philosophy degree (depression constant throughout) and over-thought everything. His dormant and outstanding intellect only reminds him constantly that he should be working, should be socialising, should be enjoying life, should be making a valid contribution to society. My friend’s sons don’t remind me of mine, Robin, because they are not like him. He is a one-off; too sensitive to cope with the pressures and demands of modern living. He is home with me every day and I take every opportunity to build him up and tell him how wonderful he is. What is the point of getting on his case when he knows better than anyone that is living far below his potential? Many things that people say about their children will stir great sadness in me, but I live in hope that he will get better. In the meantime, he is a gift. Despite his lethargy, he always brightens my day. I believe that in life, we have a lot to learn. Our individual experiences seem to tutor us in the ways we most need. I needed to learn patience. My son has helped me to learn that lesson. My husband fills in the gaps! Many times, the lessons are painful, but always, they are valuable, especially when we use them to assist other people. May we never tire of extending a loving hand to others, to ease their load.

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