In my memory there is a line.
When my mother was alive.
When my mother was dead.
Two people lived there for a moment-two people entered that hospital room, two little girls. One left. The other curled up on that hospital bed, curled against the cooling body of her mother, and never left.
I have spent years putting that little girl properly to bed, while knitting this one back to something resembling a whole person. I have begged, wheedled, cajoled, screamed and wept at the fates, wanting to turn the clock back, build my family once more into the unit it was, 4 people who loved each other, 4 people matched against the world. A family. I wanted my family back.
Tomorrow we face our daughters, and explain that soon, Daddy will have his own house and not see them every day. I want to believe that we can do this with little pain for them-that neither will have that terrible rift seethe through their bodies, that neither will spend their nights crying in pain because their world is not the world they deserve or even want. I want to believe we can get this right.
But then I imagine Vivian’s face when the reality sinks in that her father won’t be home any more, or Rosalyn’s as she computes that the her parents are no longer a unit, and wonders if that means we could stop loving her just as easily.
I see their tears, and can hardly hold mine in, even now. In that moment, I will be inflicting a most horrid pain upon my daughters, the one I swore I’d protect them from, and yet still was helpless to prevent it. In that I am a failure. I could not protect them from this.
Tell me they’ll be ok. Tell me I’m not breaking their little hearts-tell me they won’t hurt forever.
Tell me this won’t hurt them as much as the thought is killing me.