I was going through some of my mom’s pictures last night. Sometimes, I like to look at the photos my family took of Blake instead of my own. They have tons I’ve never seen (or don’t remember seeing) and I like that. This one in particular struck me. I mean, they all do, but today this one made me think a little deeper.
No one would know that’s Blakey in the picture. They may not even recognize me. They wouldn’t know this was taken at Blake’s 6 month birthday party. The party we decided to have on March 19, just 10 days after we were told our sweet baby wouldn’t make it to her first birthday. I remember that day so vividly, as I do most of the days Blake was with us. I remember waking up that morning and feeling like I wanted to die. I was trying to figure out how I would get through the day, sing happy birthday to my little girl and act like this was just what people do, have half birthday parties for their kids. I thought about canceling or just trying to get out of it somehow. I wanted to run.
I asked my sister to decorate, my mom to stay the night before and help with Kenley, and Jeff to do almost everything else. I couldn’t physically do it, yet I was determined to give her a party. She deserved at least one party. She was here, she was happy and she was so loved; all of which should be celebrated.
I think back to this day a lot. We sang happy birthday and I tried to hide my tears. I tried to hide all the fear that came along with them, too. This day is so much like many of my days now; different, of course, because I don’t get to hold my baby today. I didn’t get to hold her yesterday, and I won’t get to hold her tomorrow. It’s the same, though, because I still try to push myself to hide all the pain I feel and, still, all I want to do is run. I want to escape this world, going back to how it was before my daughter came into it. Today, just like that day, I have so much inside of me that no one can see, so much that someone who hasn’t been where I am could never understand.
It is a constant struggle to try to celebrate that Blake was here; to try to function throughout the day when half of my heart is missing. I try to think back to March 19 and remember why we had a party. Why we smiled, laughed and celebrated.
The answer is always her. It is always Blake.
When I try to figure out how to make it through the day now, how to listen to careless comments from people (and holy shit, do those get rough), or tackle a lifetime without my daughter, the answer is always her. In this picture and others like it, all I am is Blake’s mama. I am holding her and she is comfortable, she is happy.
She is still mine, I still love her and that is no secret. It never will be. The fact that I hurt because she’s gone shouldn’t be a secret either.
I can’t run or stop trying to do everything I can for her, to live for her, because I am still her mama no matter where she is.