Every time the phone rang my stomach would lurch, and so my husband bought us our first answering machine so I could feel safer and screen calls.
I came to your house a few weeks after our altercation and you wouldn't answer the door to me.
You sent me flowers on my birthday that year, and I was angry and hurt and didn't respond to what I now know was your way of reaching out.
The next time you reached out I did respond, and we met and talked and sorted out things enough to continue a relationship until the time of your passing.
Ours was a turbulent relationship, but, still and all, one where love did exist. Sometimes I couldn't see it, but I know, as I remember you today, that it was there.
So now I have a small sense of how it must have been for you - those months of silence. Of course this was before email and twitter and facebook and text messages. I imagine your only knowledge of what I was doing came through other family members.
Now I sit in the middle of my own estrangement with my daughter. It is uncomfortable and devastating and I am unsure how it can unfold. There is a lesson here that I am destined to learn.
You and I found a way through the distance. My younger sister and I found a way through the distance.
If there is love - there must be a way through this distance.
For now, my dreams are filled with her. My days are filled with her. My tears are filled with her.
I am trying to keep track of her through social media but that has gone silent.
I am trying to pray and hold my faith and wish for grace.
The days are not getting easier.
I am sorry. I should have reached out to you a second time. I shouldn't have given up. I should have responded to your flowers and Christmas Card. I didn't, and I am sorry for the time we lost.
And now? Now you are there, and I am here.
Thank you for all you did for me, the times you were there for me, the memories we shared together.
Happy Birthday, Mum. I miss you.