It has been a joke with my family that I came out of the womb talking. I am a people person and someone who could have a conversation with a wall and find myself entertained. Everyone who has ever met me knows this; anyone who has ever met my children knows that karma has come full force and got me with two chatty children.
When you have a newborn, you hear a million and one times
“it’s just a phase” or “
this phase will end,”
and every time your rhythm is thrown as a parent, you are constantly reminded that one day what is challenging will not be so difficult.
For the last few months of my dad’s life, my mom barely slept.
A couple of hours here, a few minutes there, to then wake up and go into the city and work full time. Many people do not understand about a terminal illness because there are people who are stuck surviving that illness.
Life continues; we knew that. We knew life would go on, but it was a strange moment after the funeral of knowing when it was okay to carry on.
My mom was not the one that was diagnosed, but she was the one who was left to suffer from the terminal disease. The one who had to check a new box in life, who needed to continue working even though her husband was dying, because “this phase will end,” and she needed to be okay after the end.
When Ashton was born, and we packed up our stuff to stay with my parents, my mom and I were both up every couple of hours.
We were both feeding and helping our loved ones and making sure they were comfortable before she and I would close our eyes until they needed us again.
I remember sitting up one night thinking that a time would come where Ashton would sleep through the night.
My “phase” has a happy ending, a quiet household with two children sleeping through the night and a mom who gets to enjoy uninterrupted sleep without bottles and diaper changes.
My mom’s “phase” ends when my dad’s life ends. She does not get to have that peaceful night sleep uninterrupted with her husband sleeping safely and soundly through the night with her. Her “phase” will end one day, but the unknown of the new phase is also just as scary.
The years between the last time and present-day will continue to get further apart, the sound of his voice might get weaker in my memory, but the best part of being the daughter of Ton is knowing that his phase did not end. I am a part of him, and he will always be a part of me.
It can be easy to get caught up in the feeling of loss and the lack of a physical person. There are so many moments that pass that I wish I could see Ton one more time.
But then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, someone comments on the colors of my eyes, my stubbornness comes out in the middle of an argument, I start to whistle while I cook.
At that moment, I am reminded that while some phases end, I am a part of him, and that phase is far from ending.