I am amazed by my own daughter.
I raised her on my own as her father was abusive, and Samantha was so talented, so smart. I am a musician, and she began playing the violin, I went along and studied with her. She decided on the cello - it was more comfortable.
We moved from Chicago to Montana when she was eight. The city had become so dangerous. We both thrived here in our new home, Samantha took part in music, sports, dance, had numerous friends, excelled in her academics.
She was on her way to the science competition in Bozeman at the age of twelve when the bus overturned and Samantha suffered a traumatic brain injury. I never knew what brain injuries can do, now I'm an expert in the pain.
This child had twelve years of awards, accolades, performances, and records and I found myself now seeking help for her special education needs to get through school.
For certain reasons, it was better for my daughter to be away from me at the age of seventeen. And brain-injured. I have spent one hour with her in the past four years. I have been to her performances, watched from a distance with pride.
After her injury, they thought she wouldn't be able to handle college. Her personality underwent shifts and change, everything changed. Who she is now is not who she was - but is stronger, more resilient, and more beautiful than anything I could have imagined, after the news that my child had been so severely hurt.
Samantha will graduate this May from the University of Montana with her degree in Music. She's been a member of the Missoula Symphony since seventeen. She is a member of The University Orchestra, and also The Blue Mountain Trio, winning the Northwest Division competition of the National Music Teacher's Association. She competed in Toronto recently at the National Competition. She was one of several winners of the Concerto/Aria Competition here at UM. She was selected from some two-hundred applicants for a position in the University Library.
It is so very hard for me to describe what it's like to miss her, and to not be able to share time with her - it's unclear what of her childhood she remembers, due to the injury. We were so close, she and I, because we came through a rough bit of the world together and out on top, I guess. Now she is is still my entire heart, all I have in the world - yet I don't have her at all. Still, I know that part of the reason she is as amazing as she is comes from what's ingrained, what I showed her, what I taught her, how I loved her.
I can hear it in her music.
Because of who I am, and at the time, others made a decision they thought was in my child's best interest, and it's taken me these four years to be able to come to terms with this sever, this break in my relationship with my only child - I'm a medical marijuana patient and am termed an 'activist' on the matter. I went on a hunger strike, and sponsored our state law, and am now involved in the federal over state rights problem.
I thought I would die without her. Even though I am not as much a part of her life as I want, it is enough to see that she is happy, and so strong, and vibrant and lovely.
As a young woman - an intelligent, compassionate person - not just as my daughter - I respect, admire and am so proud of her.
I've not had cards these last four Mother's Days. I would somehow like to let my daughter know that I have been enormously blessed to have her, my child. She taught me every good thing I know.