My daughter is home this weekend. Along with her dog Lily, who will forever be LL Cool Dog in my eyes, my daughter is home. I haven’t seen her in a month. During their college years, I have gone months – as in plural – without seeing both my children as they chose colleges five or more hours away. But now, since Peter’s death, it hurts more to go without seeing them, and it hurts when they leave.
I cried when she came in the door. I released those deep, from-the-gut sobs. I couldn’t help it. I needed her. I needed her in the desperate sense. Since Peter died, I feel as if our family is fractured. This weekend, physically, we are together, only with a missing piece.
As I wrote once before, we were a close-knit bunch of four, doing everything together, sharing everything, leaving nothing unspoken between us. We didn’t keep secrets from each other and we shared love, the unconditional, to our soul kind of love. And we enjoyed each other and had fun together. Now there’s three and it remains the same, but the fun has been taken. With one swift move of truck front bumper meeting Peter’s side, it was all taken. I am starting to see glimpses of some normalcy, although, with Peter gone from our lives, our once-was normalcy will never return. And that hangs between us like a rain cloud ready to burst.
My daughter and I are particularly close. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son as much as my daughter. I do. But my daughter and I? Well, she reminds me so much of Peter. Outwardly, she’s me – looks like me, talks like me, has my anxiety (she’s welcome), and has my chattiness (let’s call it that, okay?). Like me, she has the ability to use this chattiness in any situation with any person. It is a gift. But on the inside, she’s Peter.
She has his let-sort-this-out approach to situations, to life. She’s a thinker, rather than a feeler when it comes to decisions, and she’s not one to show her emotions as easily. Sure, she shows them more often than Peter did, but so much less than me. She keeps cards close to her chest like her dad. Since Peter’s death, she has also has taken on the oldest of the family role and wants to help wherever she can because that’s the way she rolls, that’s the way she heals.
My daughter described herself as an Oreo cookie. The black crunchy part is me, and the creamy inside is Peter. And maybe, especially now, missing Peter, I am drawn to her creamy inside. I need her creamy inside. I need to see Peter in her. I want to see Peter.
We stayed up until midnight talking, about cars, feelings, and eventuallys. We cried, smiled – not really laugh – played with LL Cool Dog and revealed our souls. Of course, I held back some. I tend to do hold back with my kids since Peter died. They need to heal and they can’t take on my grief while trying to deal with their own. It’s the Momma Bear in me. I did share some though. I mean, she does know I’m grieving. And I am sure she held back some from me. Both of the kids have been protective of me that way. I guess it’s a Dudak-Tobolski trait, making certain we don’t overly burden the other with our own grief. Maybe that’s just how this close-knit family of three rolls now.
My daughter asked me something last night. She asked, if I had to do it all over again with Peter, knowing the outcome down the line, and the pain the outcome it would bring me, would I? Without a beat of hesitation, I said yes. I said yes because, without him, I wouldn’t have her and her brother which would be a loss to me and this world. I said yes because, with Peter and our perfectly flawed marriage, I found my life’s completeness since he made me whole. And, I said I would take the pain over and over and over again because my pain only means I loved him, love him, and this was a true blessing, one not everyone is gifted. So, yes, I told her, I would do it all over again, a million times over again.
My daughter and LL Cool Dog came home for the weekend yesterday. My daughter, the person-from-my-soul, came home and right now, this morning, there is a peace, there is a certain contentment, there is a part of Peter, home.