This is gonna be a tough one. I told your dad a few nights ago that I didn’t want to write this letter because I don’t want to cry anymore. But I’m going to be strong and carry on. Unfortunately, your big 10 month birthday was not the biggest thing to happen last week. Last week my mom, your Grammy, passed away. It’s going to be a long time before you know about any of this, and even longer before you understand it, but it is still important for me to tell you about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Grammy had been sick for a long time, and the disease she had was really, really hard on her. Much harder than it is on other people who have gotten it. But she was very strong and fought very hard, because that’s the way she was – persistent, stubborn, and strong-willed. (One day you’ll use those words to describe me, I’m sure. You won’t be the first.) A lot of people would have given up long before your Grammy did. She was trying to make it 5 more weeks to meet your cousin, Anna, but it was best that she didn’t. She was in a lot of pain.
You have no idea that any of this is going on, and part of me is happy for that. I’m glad that you’re spared this pain, especially so early in life. But I’m also sad that you won’t remember your Grammy because she loved you so, so, so much. My whole life, everyone I ever met that knew my mom always told me, “Oh, your mom talks about you ALL THE TIME.” Ever since you were born, that phrase changed to, “Oh, your mom talks about Addison ALL THE TIME.” She loved her grandbaby. And she was so happy you were a girl. She would have loved a little boy, too, but she loved the idea of having a little girl to dress. I know it was very hard for her to finally have a granddaughter, but to be too sick to go out and buy clothes for her. She would have filled up your closet, I assure you.
We only have a few pictures of the two of you together because for awhile she lived far away, and she was too sick to travel. My favorite picture of the two of you together was from the first time she got to meet you. Her arms were very weak, so we had to lay you on a pillow in her lap so she could hold you. That made her so happy, and you can see it in the picture. She sat with you that way for hours, talking to you about all the fun things she wanted to do with you when you were bigger. When she was closer to us, she would come see you every time she could.
My mom was a very important person in my life, but mainly because of the struggles I had with her. A lot of those struggles were because of our similarities in temperament. (Leos are fiery people, and our birthdays were only 2 days apart. This made for a pretty volatile combination.) A lot of those struggles were because of the choices she made in her life that hurt me and hurt your Auntie.
Having you helped my relationship with my mom a lot. It gave us a common bond – our utter adoration of one Addison Frances. It also helped me to understand my mom more because I could put myself in her shoes. And it’s not that it made me look back and realize she had done the right thing a lot of times that I thought she hadn’t. I still think she made a lot of mistakes. For a long time, I thought I just wasn’t important to her, that I wasn’t a priority, and that it was because she was selfish. But now I realize that the choices she made were made because she was really messed up emotionally. I don’t have a more descriptive or profound way to explain it.
Here’s my logic: I love you more than anything in the world, more than I ever thought I could love anything, and everything I do every day stems from the effect it will have on you. You are the center of my universe. Not that I’m some crazy obsessive mom who can’t carry on a conversation about anything else and just fusses over you constantly, but I am extremely devoted to you. And feeling all this love and devotion came very naturally to me (which is not the case for some people.) This love and devotion wasn’t as easy for my mom, and I have come to realize that it was because she was such a damaged person. She was trying to fill a void in her life, and trying to fill that void controlled everything in her life, including her relationship with me. That used to make me very, very angry, but now that I have you, it just makes me really sad that she wasn’t able to love me the way that I love you because it is truly such a gift.
The good thing about having a strained relationship with my mom is that it taught me a lot, and it will (hopefully) help me be a better mom to you. Because of my relationship with my mom, I will always be honest with you. I will always keep my promises to you, and I will always follow my words with action. Because of my relationship with my mom, I promise that our family – me, you, and your Daddy – will always be my number one priority. I will always show you how much I love you, not just tell you. I will admit when I make mistakes.
Even though Grammy and I didn’t have the best relationship in the world, I know that she loved me the best way she could. I am thankful that I was able to work through some of my issues with her before she died. A lot of that is because of you, Boo Bear, so thank you. A lot of that is because she was sick and I knew she wouldn’t be here forever. I’m sad for a lot of reasons. I’m sad that a woman that was so beautiful and so healthy got reduced to a helpless shell of what she used to be. I’m sad that you won’t have your Grammy around when you grow up and that you’ll never really know her. I’m sad that she was never able to fill that void in her life and truly be at peace. I’m sad that the hope of having a better relationship with my mom is dead. I am so sad that she’s gone and so sad that she was sick, but I’m thankful we had the opportunity to have closure. I am also very thankful that I have you in my life because it is helping me to keep my wits about me. I can’t get totally lost in emotions because I have to be here for you, and that is a very, very good thing. And you also are a constant reminder that for every sorry, there is also joy. You have given me so much joy that I can handle any sorrow that comes my way.
I love you, my little Boo Berry, and so did your Grammy.