The Ways We Miss…

Missing is complex. I know in my family the ways we miss are different, they have been since we started missing Madeline. Some need quiet, some need hugs, others need people and noise… some need to go back to places while others need to put it behind them. I have noticed so much in these years… the biggest thing being- the missing never ends.

Missing is forever. We don’t miss things as much when we know we can see them again. Last year our friends moved home to Germany, a big family move. We said goodbye, we helped clear out the boxes and we moved on. I smile at the messages and pictures we get and I wonder how they are doing. I kind of miss them. Let me explain, so I don’t sound like an ice-cold-lady. I know they are okay, going to school and growing… I know they are exploring and enjoying life in Germany. The only thing between us is an ocean. It is very doable to see them, if I had extra money. So I miss seeing them often, but I don’t miss them like I would if they were gone.

I miss Madeline all.the.time. I mean how can you not? 1/3 of the ones I gave birth to is not here, and is farther than 15 oceans away… she is my lifetime away. I miss Madeline. I can never feel her skin, touch her hair, look at her smile, see her eyes, pinch her butt or give her a butterfly kiss. Madeline is missed differently. While others grow and change and become, she has done all the becoming she can, she has grown the tallest she will and she will forever be unaltered (for good and bad). I see missing just this way, missing a big hunk of me- of myself. Madeline carried that piece with her, maybe she is floating up in heaven taking care of her peeps with a little piece of my heart and her sisters.

Some people miss in a secluded way, I don’t think I have fallen into this category often. I tend to find people that build me better and boost my energy. I tend to try to dive right into pain, I know pain is never wasted. I also know that pain and missing are both important and connected roads on this journey. I have said this before, how could I not hurt or miss? I have the most amazing person to miss…

I tend to like to jump into situations and see them now. I like to sit in places that I have memories of LB (Life Before). I like to sit in the seats Madeline did, or that I can see the girls as they grew. I love to go to Western Diner and let myself remember the last time we were there. I let myself go to the parks and see my mind show me Madeline in the swings. I love hearing her voice when I remember her riding around in circles singing. I love to be in places I know she touched, though they have surely cleaned all of her cells and DNA from their spaces- there is some of her there.

Last week when I went home to the Lake, a place that always brings my big missing back to Madeline. On this trip I missed Madeline tons and I felt empty travelling without Amelia and Lucy. Some parts of divorce really suck and always will. I decided to stop at the place where I first hear Madeline utter the words ‘Best Day Ever’. I had been working lately on a project that really dives into that night in December 2011 that our family enjoyed a great dinner pre-Christmas celebration, just the 5 of us. I remember it so clearly, the wood, the atmosphere and the feelings. It was a great night of dinner with 3 little ones that ended really well. It felt right to be in that very spot that night…


On my trip back home to Lake Ontario,, I decided to stop there and see that restaurant, to see that booth we sat in. I wanted to see if it was as I remembered, if I could be closer to Madeline there. I parked and wandered in, in my yoga pants and messy piggy. I decided not to care about that part… and I sat at the bar. I wanted to order the dessert the girls loved there, but I order soup instead. I looked around and felt that feeling. I stared at the corner booth we sat at and took it in. It’s so strange to think that the last time I was in that room Madeline was alive, excited for Christmas and herself. We all were. I felt my missing right there, in a beautiful warm room surrounded by complete strangers. I let myself go right back to that night and I listened as people spoke of Hurricane Matthew. I just took it in. I kept some of that energy from that room and that warmth. I wanted it to keep, even though it hurt. I finished the drive home and cried deep and hard. I played the music that helps me get deep in the grief and missing… I went back to those moments, all the while driving on Lewis County back roads…

Lucy misses Madeline often, openly. She has been bringing me home some of the most beautiful drawings, with Madeline as a 10 year old and rainbows. She talks to me about things she can remember and begs for more for her brain to remember. She hurts and she loves. It isn’t weird for Lucy to tell a complete stranger that I had 3 babies, she has 2 sister- but one is dead. She is honest and blunt and it is her way. I encourage it, I love it and I blush when she corners a stranger with her story…

Amelia misses differently altogether. She struggles when she feels that missing, she worries about not keeping it together in front of others. I love to hear her talk about Madeline, it is beautiful. She does it more quietly, a little behind the scenes. Sometimes Amelia’s missing comes out as stress, maybe that is in me too. Sometimes it takes her a bit to know that it is missing that is altering her mood and days… it is her way.

We all do it differently, that is a good thing. Imagine if we did it the same… if we missed the same. What a world that would be, lacking all the beauty of grief and the differences. I know that how we feel our missing and grief is a big part of us, it is in us. Some need to dive in and some need to skate across the vast ocean of grief, some see the missing as the same as all missing and others understand my missing. It is kind of like Eskimos, I hear they have several words for snow, all of the different kinds of snow. I see that there are different missing’s but our vocabulary has yet to give them all names.

So when you hear someone talk about missing know that there are lots of kinds, lots of ways… missing is a personal thing. Know that to me and mine, missing is different than ‘wishing someone close well’. In my heart I know how I miss, how I like to dive in and see those places and spaces… how I live to be in those places she touched. I wish always that there was just one more fingerprint or Madeline bit of dust… but I know that is the missing. There is no more of that, no more new hence the real missing. The bit of me that Madeline made me, is really missing. Amelia and Lucy are missing a part of their selves… it isn’t an ocean away but our lifetime away.

Madeline, I felt you. I know you were in that warm restaurant that night… I know you were in that corner giggling and eating your fancy dinner. You were in my moment, as you are in so many… I look forward to the day that I miss you no more… but I look forward to the adventures your sisters and I get to bring you along on. You are our passion, our missing. I know how it hurts to dive into those places, but my darling you are worth the pain. You are my joy, even if it takes pain to feel those moments of joy.


One thought on “The Ways We Miss…

  1. Missing hurts. It pierces the heart and then twists the mind. It reminds us of true love then reminds us of kisses no more. It is fierce, relentless, and has no mercy. We talk about it sometimes yet never admit it’s true power over us.


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