Here one day and the next, you no longer are able to enjoy the presence of a person.
During the Mesozoic Era when dinosaurs roamed freely and I went to school, my attendance was accounted for during roll call. The teacher would call out the names of everyone in the class one by one as they were listed in her book. After your name was called, you would say, “Here!” to make your presence known. When a student didn’t come to school that day, their name would be called and then there was just a thick silence that followed. The teacher would put an “X” next to the absent person’s name on the student list.
After the teacher had accounted for all absences, on another sheet of paper she would write down the names of those students who were not in the class and put the paper on a clip located outside the classroom door. At some point during the class all the papers stuck on clips in the hallway were collected from the classrooms and taken to the school office. In the office the information was transferred to a running tally for each student. If a child was missing for too many days, the office personnel would call the child’s home to find out what was causing the continued absence.
Schools have to find out why a student is continually absent because it is the law.
Like that absent student in school, I have been absent from the Internet.
I basically disappeared.
Because I didn’t talk to people, I didn’t have to fake or lie about anything. At this point in my life, it was just better to say nothing. My mother asked me a couple times why I wasn’t blogging and my answer was short – “I’m tired.” I knew she wouldn’t press the issue since I had started a new job outside of my home. It wasn’t a lie that I was tired because after a long day, who isn’t tired? In reality, it only took a couple weeks of rising at the crack of dawn before I was back to my normal work self.
I guess my answer was more of an omission and I just let Mom believe it was my physical tiredness that kept me from writing. So I’m sorry if I misled Mom, however in the whole scheme of life, what I did wasn’t that bad.
If being tired didn’t keep me from writing, what is the real reason that I disappeared and basically dropped off the Internet?
Blogging has been a part of my daily life for six years and four months. Yes, 6 years 4 months. During that time A LOT of things have happened and I wrote about them even though some were extremely personal.
By reading my blog day after day, you get to know me. The person that I am on the Internet is the same person I am when I go to the grocery store, work, church, or home. So much of me has been shared with you over the years and it is still strange when I run into someone who starts talking about something I’ve shared on my blog. Honestly, it is quite humbling to know that so many people let me occupy a portion of their life.
Depending on your point of view, the things I am about to share with you in this post are going to fortunately or unfortunately be painfully honest. Maybe what I write will help someone or maybe you will just know me a little better than you did yesterday. However, you might not understand at all and it might make you just want to puke.
You’ve been forewarned, so prepare yourself by grabbing the tissues or by hanging your head over the toilet.
I can set down my keys and not find them for a few minutes, but while they are missing, I’m a bit in a panic until they are found. The same scenario happens with most inanimate objects, but they are just “things”.
When I was the vulnerable age of fourteen, my dad disappeared from my life. No visits. No letters. No cards. No phone calls. He led his life without me in it and I had to do the same thing, but I needed him. In my opinion, everyone needs a mother AND a father in their life. Both offer a totally different take on the life experience and it creates balance in a person’s soul and psyche.
Mom was ever present and wonderful. Her wonderfulness made my father’s absence even more obvious. I always thought, “If Mom loves me SO MUCH, why doesn’t Dad love me the same? If he did love me that much, wouldn’t he have a relationship with me?”
It took many years of life, love and therapy before I was able to answer that question. In the end, Dad stepped back into my life and we had seven wonderful years together. Then…he died. Once again he is absent physically from my life although he is ever present in my heart.
Knowing that bit of history about me now, you will probably understand why the absence of someone in my life is a pretty big deal. I don’t cope well with loss especially when it is a loss of a person from my daily experience.
I should be used to it all by now, right? The circle of life means we are born, live and die. Each phase is different. During the living stage, we grow up, move out, and build our own life. It is the natural course of existing on the planet.
With each phase of life, a person is exposed to new thoughts, experiences and feelings. Sometimes reading books or listening to other people share what they have done can help you navigate through your own experience more easily. Sometimes it doesn’t help at all. In the end you have to go through each moment of life for yourself. Even if you have a God of some kind in your life for support and guidance, you still have to experience YOUR life.
So you live.
Sometimes you live one day at a time and sometimes you have to live one second at a time just to get through it.
When my daughter was born, Alyssa was the answer to the biggest wish and prayer of my heart.
I always say that being Alyssa’s mother is my greatest accomplishment. Maybe it meant more to me because my dad abandoned me. Maybe motherhood was just part of my chemistry. Maybe the innocent love of a child is what I always needed to feel fulfilled.
Whatever the reason for my passion and gratitude in being a mother, I was able to enjoy twenty-two years of having my daughter live under the same roof with me.
Then at the end of January, she moved to the other side of the country to be closer to her father and to pursue a new career.
She was gone.
I was left with her empty bedroom and a billion billion zillion memories.
Knowing that this is just a part of life and feeling gratitude for the experience of being a mother doesn’t make missing Alyssa easier. Just because she is happy and flourishing doesn’t mean that everything inside of me is fine. Alyssa’s absence has ripped a piece of my soul out. I read books trying to prepare for the proverbial empty nest, but nothing prepared me for the pain and sadness.
Part of me feels completely lost.
Another part of me wants to hide.
…and that’s what I’ve done.
I’ve been hiding.
Crying some more.
During some point in the last seven months I decided to just let myself grieve and to keep it to myself so that I wouldn’t have to hear people keep telling me that it will get better. Saying “this too shall pass” doesn’t make me feel any better.
I can’t see into the future, but the way it is looking now depresses me. Alyssa is not going to ever move back. She is settled, happy, and has a wonderfully thriving career.
The new place is her home place.
When and if Alyssa has children, I will be the grandmother that lives very far away and rarely gets to see her grandchildren. I won’t be the one who they can drag their teddies and toys to on Friday night to have a sleepover.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Alyssa won’t be able to run by and eat dinner with me.
There won’t be shopping trips, day trips, cooking meals, watching television, going to the movies, going to concerts, or a million other things that I still want to share with Alyssa. Those days seem to be over.
It is sad.
I miss her…everything about her including her untidy bathroom.
Even though I have happiness in other parts of my life, there is a huge hole of sadness that is constantly missing my daughter. No one teaches you how to cope with this type of loss. Actually, the only thing you can do is to fill your life with things that bring you happiness. You also have to accept what has changed.
I didn’t lose Alyssa, but I lost Alyssa’s daily presence.
So I’m trying to cope.
Living each day with different expectations and concentrating on “Sherry’s life” as it is now.
At times I fail miserably. The pain hits so quick and hard that I just burst into sobs. But….I’m putting my best effort into coping and moving on without her being close to home.
It is hard.
It is very, very hard.
I’ve been missing and absent because I’ve been missing the absent.