I am a mother.
Let me explain. You have never met my daughter. No one has; no one, other than me, as she left this world before she had even entered it, leaving a trail of anguish and regret behind her. She wasn’t conceived consensually- not that it matters, because, when you’ve lost a child, what else does matter?- and had she survived, our lives would have been shattered, miserable, tinged with stigma. But she was my daughter. And I am a mother.
Perhaps I never sat shiva for her.
Perhaps it was because I couldn’t.
Perhaps you shouldn’t judge me, if you wonder why I cry.
I started saying Kaddish for her when the pain hit me like a truck. Kneeling on the ground, clutching my stomach, though it was years since she had sat there, I got up and found the strength through my tears to mumble the words; “Yisgadal v’Yiskadash Shmei Rabba”… The only words which numbed the pain, as I searched for memories of her and found none.
I never stopped saying Kaddish. And when it came to Yizkor, I couldn’t bring myself to leave. “I’ll leave for Yizkor,” I told my friends. “My minhag is to not stay,” I said, thanking Him for my parents. But it started and I sat glued to my seat. And I said a prayer for my beloved daughter, telling myself this would be it. This is the end. No more saying Kaddish.
But I never stopped. It’s the least I can do for her, and if G-d has a problem with it- well, He shouldn’t have taken my little girl away.