In Her Shoes

Yesterday I saw a grandmother shopping with her granddaughter.  Her granddaughter was maybe 6 or 7 months old, and she was in her car seat propped in the front seat of a shopping cart.  The grandmother was making cutesy faces at the baby, and talking sweetly to her, while her granddaughter was cooing and giggling back at her.  I walked by and turned my head slightly to get a better view.  When I had walked past them, I turned my head back to in front of me and kept going.

I would love to tell you that these things don't effect me anymore, but then, that would be lying.  I wouldn't be writing about this if it didn't still hurt.  One of my biggest hurdles in getting past my mom's death is the fact that Leah will never get to sit in the front of a shopping cart smiling as her Grandma Pat tries to make her laugh.  I mourn for the loss of my mom, but I mourn more for my daughter's loss of a grandmother.  A grandmother she never knew.

I want my baby to know what it's like to go to Grandma's on the weekends and to get excited when she gets in the car.  I want her to have little secrets between her and her grandmother--secrets that she keeps from Greg and myself--secrets like that she had cookies and french fries for lunch at Grandma's house and not a turkey sandwich like they told me.  I want Leah to go to the park, and the mall, and the circus, and the zoo with Grandma, and I want them to have a fabulous time.

I want her to learn from her Grandma and go places with her Grandma and do things with her Grandma and just BE WITH HER GRANDMOTHER and I know it's never going to happen but sometimes the pain is too painful and the hurt is too hurtful and the burden to keep my mother's memory alive to Leah is just too damn burdensome. 

Sometimes, I need help.  Sometimes, I want my daughter to know what life with her grandmother was like and for her to JUST KNOW that she would have loved it.  And I don't want to always have to force the situation and talk about my dead mother to a two year old who doesn't know what I'm talking about.  Sometimes, I don't want to have to wonder if I'm doing it right--if I'm saying the right things to make sure that Leah knows how important her grandmother is.  I want her to know how great being places with her grandmother would have been without me having to try so damn hard.  I want her to do things that her grandmother did and I want her to enjoy them as much as she did and I want her to be in the same place doing the same thing and I just want to give up because I want it to happen and I know that it can't happen.

But, sometimes, that is exactly what happens.  And I find something like this:

Patricia Ellen, Magen's Bay, St. Thomas, 1974

Leah Patricia, Magen's Bay, St. Thomas, 2009

And then I'm okay again.

And I wake up the next day and tell Leah about how fun life would have been with Grandma Pat, and how Grandma Pat would have just loved to go to the zoo with her and how Grandma Pat would have taken her to get her ears pierced and how...


A'Dell said...

This is so sweet. I can't believe that you have a picture of her in the same place!

Anonymous said...


You're not alone... sometimes I find it hard to go to friends' houses because I get so jealous that they still have a dad to joke around with, to show your "report card" to, who gets you donuts and bagels on Sunday mornings, to call and tell about your day, who defends you when you need it. Some of my friends have wonderful relationships with their dads and I definitely feel my heart break when I'm around it, even though on the surface I try not to let it show. I think on graduation day it's going to hit me hard, seeing all the dads. I dread the day I get married and I won't have a father-daughter dance. I love my mom dearly and she's there for all these things and more, but a daughter needs her daddy, too.

Did you take those pictures to look alike? I was going to suggest you do something like that and start a tradition - something you did, something Leah would do when she is older, etc.


Deenuts Dana said...

I didn't take the pic of Leah on purpose. I didn't even know the one of my mom existed until the other night when I was looking through old photos. The background looked familiar and I went and looked through our pics from St. Thomas and found one of Leah in just about the same place. It was a sign.

Anonymous said...

They even look like their bathing suit tops are similar! <3


april said...

This is incredible, Dana

Anonymous said...

That picture of your mom looks just like YOUR SISTER! Incredible. Has she seen it?

Abbe said...

Dana ~~

This post makes me smile bright as it makes my hair on my arm stand straight up.

I truly believe in the connectedness of those pictures and finding them is an amazing gift.

Aunt Abbe :)