Exactly 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?