…is like nothing else in the world
Me: (to Steel) When did you get married? I’m looking for a picture I took of Alison that day. For some reason it’s stuck in my head.
Him: August 28, 2009
Me: (later) God, I found it. Thanks.
Alison and I went to my buddy’s wedding around the way a decade ago and she wanted to walk in comfort there. She changed her shoes right before we went in because she always liked to be put together in public.
Dunno why I thought of that pic. Just did. Finding it was some form of relief.
Her birthday is this Sunday. It also happens to be Mother’s Day. I expect to be pretty messed up this weekend.
She woulda been 40, which is such a kick in the head. I remember throwing her that surprise birthday party for her 30th birthday.
Man, I cannot express how writing all this affects me. It’s like someone hits my chest with a sledgehammer. It was a lifetime ago.
But I digress.
This isn’t actually a post about Alison; it’s actually about her mom.
You see, her mom stayed with us every single day Alison was sick. Every. Single. Goddamn. Day.
She was at Alison’s side at the very end because I couldn’t be. I couldn’t fucking do it. I was too weak to say goodbye.
I’m too weak even now. My knees shake just thinking about it.
Her mom: I worry about your drinking so much. Does it really make you feel better?
Me: For a bit. Just for a bit.
Yet, her mom endured saying goodbye to her daughter. As a father, I have no idea how she did that. I can’t even bear the thought of it.
She endured everything I endured and more. I am quietly humbled and forever grateful for her and her love for Alison.
Agatha Christie once said, A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things, and crushes down, remorselessly, all that stands in its path.
Holy shitballs, that’s her mom in a sentence (or three).
Actually, that’s my mom too – and how she handled herself with my dad. But that’s another entry.
Speaking of my dad, he told me, just before he died, to always be kind to Alison’s mom and to never take the boy from her.
Me: I would never. But why?
Him: (sighing) Because, she’s a mother that lost her child. Whatever you feel you’ve lost, whatever anyone feels they’ve lost, she’s lost more. Whatever pain you think you have – and I know you have a lot – she has more. She gave you Alison, you’ll always have a debt to her for that.
Me: I know. (nodding) You should rest.
It was one of the last things he said to me and it crushed me because the truth is a powerful thing. The power of the truth crushes things, that’s what it does.
I write her at least every other day about the kid. Because Alison woulda talked to her at least as much. I wanted to give her back a tiny sliver of what she lost.
It’s my little way of saying thank you for being so strong when I couldn’t be.
Alison would have been the best mother and I know what I do pales in comparison, as she would have loved this kid in ways I never could.
Cause a mother’s love is like nothing in the world – my dad knew this, Agatha knew this, and I know this.
Especially someone like Alison, who wanted this kid more than anything else in the world. She loved him even before he was born. Everything she suffered to survive the cancer – and you cannot fathom the pain she went through – she did for him.
But she’s not here. So, with her mom’s help, I do what I can to raise the boy as she woulda wanted. It’s not her but it’s the best we’ve got.
Him: I love you, Papa.
Me: That’s good, because I love you!
Him: (thinking) And mommy too.
Me: (sighing, nodding) You should. Because to know her is to love her.
Him: (staring at me) Are you ok, daddy?
Me: (nodding) Of course. I have you. (hugging him) And stop calling me “daddy.”