I met someone recently.
This wasn't exactly a happy meeting. In fact, I was reluctant to see this person. I avoided her for several weeks.
In Biology, we discuss natural selection. "Survival of the fittest". There is competition in nature, and the traits that are most advantageous will be passed on, becoming increasingly popular within the population over time. In some species, this could mean longer beaks or webbed feet. In others, camouflage.
Shortly after you died, I began to exhibit some "risky traits". I refused to embrace the fact that this had happened to me, to accept that my baby had died.
There I sat for weeks, in my cushy denial. Unfortunately, this created conflict in my every action, as there were two separate entities fighting for this one body. There was the girl who makes popcorn for 'Real Housewife' 'reunion shows, and the one who falls asleep on garage floors next to tubs of her dead daughter's clothing. The mother who creates swords from cardboard J. Crew boxes, and the one who runs out of grocery stores mid-checkout in hysterics.
For a long time I thought I had to be one or the other, and it was killing me. I could be seen running from her at all times, the dark lady whose daughter had died inside of her. I would hide her inside closets of small talk and cliches. What I didn't realize at the time, is that you cannot run from who you are. You cannot change the things that happen to you. There are really only two options: adapt or die. Sadly, this was the beginning of my slow and painful extinction. It was only a matter of time.
Then one day I saw her.
The first time we met it was via photograph. The eyes were different, but I recognized her smile. Pain and gratitude in a shared skin.
Gradually and increasingly, she has emerged. I have seen her in parking lots and reception halls. Her laughter echoing through hallways and late night television. One may find her on a park bench before the rain, sighing heavily in the wind. She enjoys back rubs and the occasional good cry, almost as much as the company of preschoolers during Friday morning breakfasts. Her thick skin and knowing eyes are charming, the perfect hybrid of sorrow and redemption.
Sometimes I still see her running, searching for the place she was before, only she will no longer survive there. Her skin aglow, she has evolved, forever clashing with the green pastures.
Patiently, I await her return. I know she'll be back. And more importantly,
I know she'll be okay.