Backtracking a little here, I had rambled in a previous post how one of the things that haunts me most is that I never knew if Daphne was aware her parents would not allow me to see her and if she died wondering if I had abandoned her. Then a friend told me that my minster at the time had gone to the hospital to talk to her parents on my behalf. My hopes soared beyond reason. Perhaps he had seen her, or gotten a message to her, or something, anything that would give me a shred of comfort from that nagging, haunting guilt.
I met with the minister a couple of weeks ago and the answer was a resounding ‘no’. He had gone to the hospital, had a brief conversation with her father and was rudely dismissed. *big sigh* I admit that I had allowed myself to hope too much. It was a deflating let down. I am resigned to carry that stone for the rest of my life.
But in these intervening weeks, I have thought a lot about her parents. I confess that I have harbored much anger toward them. Then. And still. Daphne was a brilliant person. A loving person. A religious person. Accomplished in everything she set her mind to. An only child of ‘pull themselves up by the boot straps’ parents. She was their pride and joy. It was so obvious from the photos she had of her youth. The one (and only) thing that destroyed that pride was the day she told them she was gay. And that ended their relationship. Forever. She left them on the brink of all her potential and the last they saw her she was broken beyond repair.
I now sit looking at my oldest daughter who will be leaving for college in August. I am in that same place in time that Daphne’s parents were. I am overflowing with pride for all that she has accomplished, but even more so for the person she has become. Yet, unlike them, I can’t imagine anything she could tell me that make me love her less or want to remove her from my life.
I think about all the things Daphne’s parents missed in her life. The academic honors and professional recognition and respect that would have mattered so much to them. They missed the beautiful woman be became and all the love and laughter she gave the world. I wonder how they live with that, what a huge stone they must carry.
So two things are shifting in me. One is that my anger at her parents is dissipating. I think it is being replaced by pity, realizing now, as a parent myself, how very much they missed.
And secondly, a much deeper appreciation of how precious my relationship with my daughters is. I now stand where her parents stood. My daughters are about to start off on their own independent paths, on the brink of all their potential.
And I don’t want to miss a thing.