I wrote this for my friend Alison, who despaired of her daughter ever resuming their loving and friendly relationship. They are now the best of friends.
Four and a half years later, I read this at my daughter’s funeral in October 2001. Annette had chronic depression and took her own life, at the age of 34. We had been estranged for several years, for in her illness, she rejected me completely –until the last few weeks before she died.
I am thankful for the care and support she did receive – although it was not enough – and for the fact that, because we never closed the door, regardless of how difficult she was to deal with – it helped to heal the break between us and we enjoyed her last weeks with love and laughter.
A Mother’s Prayer For A Lost Daughter
What price our sons will exceed their father’s aspirations?
And if they do, is it for him – when they surpass those
incomparable limits of fatherhood?
What price our daughters will achieve our unrealized
heights of both career and domesticity?
And if they do, it’s not for us – but to create
their own environment of womanhood.
Our dreams, so unfulfilled. Our desires, so blatantly
transferred. Our plans, so thwarted by time and
What pain and loss our children might receive from us.
Why? Our own dreams for them are for lives
filled with the joy of accomplishment.
Bubbling over with harmony and the
satisfaction of creation realised.
We let them go. Waiting for them to come back,
wanting to share.
Knowing that we are aware but they are still alone.
And when they call to say “Hello”, the hunger
would overwhelm us all — except that it is
our hunger, not theirs. So, we must, of necessity,
not let them know the depths
of our fear and our love.
We cannot truly be mother, friend, parent
and companion as we would wish.
Somewhere, sometime, it’s goodbye
while they move on – to a world and time
of their own that we will never truly know,
while we fear their pain which is still to come.
It may be too much for them to share with us
– and in that time we seek the peace of
mutual acceptance and understanding.
Perhaps unspoken, but they will know.
In silence, my child, simply touch my fingertips
and know the truth of parental love.
In Memory Of Annette
26th August 1967 – 21st October 2001
On the desk lamp by my PC, where I work almost every day, there is a beautful white butterfly. Fragile now, Annette gave it to me in a card as a late Easter gift in 1991. Along with the card in which it came, signed with love to both me and to Robbie from “Netti” it shares my every day. They are a reminder to me that we shared many years of love, happiness and friendship, as well as times of pain and loss. She is ever my daughter.
On 10th August, 2010, I read this poem at the GetUp! Candlelit Vigil in Burswood Park – in support of Mental Health Reform and in support of all those who have suffered. Please use the links below, to share this poem with your family and friends. We have a Facebook page, too at Stories My Nana Tells