I’m on year 11.

Eleven years.

I can’t even relay to you how 11 years feels impossible, yet so quick and so long all at once.

Life without her has continued, just as she promised it would. But life has not been easy or smooth since her passing.

Maybe it was harder when she was here and she was on the windy cliffs of her disease. Maybe I made it harder when I held her hand and curled up in her hospital bed and told her how much I loved her. Maybe that was harder, knowing every minute may be the last. Knowing if I walked to the kitchen, I could walk back and be without a mother, and her without me.

Maybe it was hard as she drifted off to her new life while watching us. Maybe it was hard on her to know that we were all so sad, but yet she was juxtaposed with the excitement of a new journey. I can’t imagine floating away without my daughter or my husband, thinking that I could be happy. She must have cried with us, too.

Without knowing her, I can’t explain the type of person she was. How beautiful and wonderful she was. How her laugh was contagious. I talk about her often because I don’t want to forget myself. I know that talking about her makes others uneasy and squirmy because I see the tears swell in their eyes. I get it. I hurt, too.

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What I am fearful of most is that I am going to forget all the wonderfulness of her.

That aspect, the possible forgetting, and the possible notion that I could forget the person who created me . . . that makes my heart ache.

Near the anniversary of her death, my soul becomes restless and this year has been no different. My daughter is registered for kindergarten and has finished her preschool. Life is again changing.

Recently I walked to the duck pond and spied a momma duck pushing her baby ducks in the water. She quacked away and I imagined her saying, “I gotta go, but you are going to be OK. I’m really right here, OK?”

I found big tears in my eyes.

Here I am, that momma duck pushing my baby in the water. I want to hold her so close, but yet I know she needs to go and do big things. When I say big things, we are talking kindergarten, but come on now, that seems like a BIG HUGE POND right now. Kids are sweet, but kids are also harsh and MY baby is so sweet and innocent. She is my soft and fluffy duckling leaning on my wing and saying please hold me a little while longer, but let me dip this one foot in. For the record, I’m going to put a life jacket on her, just saying.

In that exact moment at the duck pond, it occurred to me that 11 years ago, I was the one taking the plunge from my own momma duck.

She was the one pushing me into the great big pond. I would like to think she has and continues to say, “It’s not that hard, you got this, take a dip.” I clung to her chest and sobbed because I knew in that exact moment there was no going back and I was soaking wet in this great big pond called life. The problem is, every June the water gets a little deeper and the bank she was on, seems to be fading away little by little.

How did she do it? How did she push me into the pond? How did she say, “I gotta go, but you are going to be OK. I’m really right here, OK?” I wish I knew because it’s the hardest thing in the world to encourage your baby to take the dip.

“I gotta go. It’s going to be OK. I’m really right here, OK?”

She did it and because she did, I suppose I can, too.

But, today it is not happening. I’m going to hold my baby a little tighter, kiss her forehead, sing silly songs and dance in the kitchen. Kindergarten can wait, at least until August, and I will snuggle my fuzzy duckling just a little while longer.

And like the strong-willed southern fictional woman I admire named Scarlett O’Hara, I will think about it later. “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

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Olivia Webb

Olivia Scott Webb grew up in a sleepy community in McCoy, Virginia on the outskirsts of Blacksburg Virginia. She currently resides with her husband, two children, and cat in Giles County, Virginia. She rambles about her life experiences and the journey of losing her mother at the age of 21, infertility, and the joys of motherhood. She can be found spending her free time with her family, enjoying the sunshine, and soaking up every inch of blessings provided to her. You can follow her blog posts at https://liv784.blog/.