It’s the eve of the 29th anniversary of the worst day of my life as a new mother.
It was on 20th June 1987, I received a phone call at 4.30am in the morning…it was dark and I knew in my heart that it wasn’t going to be good news.
The doctor said “You’d better get to the hospital as fast as you can.” It’s the day our lives changed forever. By the time we reached the hospital, our little 4 month old angel, Jessica, had been called to the heavens for a higher purpose. We were devastated and lost and there was no consoling us.
But as I sit here today, 28 years later, reflecting on that day as I do every year, I am also thinking about this tragic event in a brand new light. You see, I’ve just recently become a grandparent and I’m fast discovering that this in itself has opened up a piece of my heart that has been locked away for a very long time.
Our second born angel, Renee, gave birth to her own little girl, Lorna Estelle Edge, on 4th March 2016, 3 days before her own birthday and a little over a week past her sister Jessica’s on 24th February.
When your daughter becomes a mother, your world changes.
You watch her begin her own journey full of newfound love, sleepless nights (and days), confusion, joy, discovery and contentment. You’re proud of the way she holds herself and does her best to understand how to accommodate all of these new expectations thrust upon her.
It brings back memories of your own, but these are new times. Much has changed in the way of available information. It’s a difficult task to offer advice in light of all that the internet provides. But you offer anyway and sometimes it’s the only practical advice left at the end of the day.
When your daughter becomes a mother, you see her in a new light.
You become closer than you’ve ever been before. There’s a new relationship forming alongside all of the activity and devotion to the newest member of the family. Sure, Lorna is the most beautiful little human any of us has ever seen and we are all consumed with her presence, but there’s another level of love going on above it all. There’s a connection there that’s never existed before…and I’m enjoying that.
When your daughter becomes a mother, she’s on a journey of self discovery.
I’m standing back and watching with a mixture of pride, empathy, understanding and concern. As the days move on through and the challenges with raising a child come and go, I know that Lorna has found herself the best damn set of parents she could ask for. As parents, she and Dave have their eyes on the prize and the greater good for Lorna, but for now their own needs have taken a back seat. A pretty normal situation for most, but I plan to be there for support as much as I can.
When your daughter becomes a mother, your perspective on everything changes.
You question your life’s purpose again. You look around and start to think about what’s really important. I mean really important. You work hard for the money, you sell your soul to employers, you’re at risk of becoming materialistic, you worry about what people think of you… all of that pales into insignificance when you’re ensconced in the arms of your family. That’s what is important.
So I sit here tonight and think of Jessica and I am grateful to her for giving me this reflection time. As each year passes, she gives me something new to think about on these anniversaries. Losing her has made me who I am today and today I am so in love with life and my beautiful family. I’m grateful for the knowledge and perspective that comes from adversity and I’m looking forward to being right there alongside Renee on her journey through this thing called motherhood.