Before my mother became my mother, she was her mother's daughter. The youngest of three kids, she was a typical baby of the family. She got lots of attention, but was still expected to carry her share of the load. She always talked about feeding the chickens, planting the tomatoes, and helping to cook and clean around the house.
Mom was also quite the Daddy's girl. She was working at a local school on the day that Grandpa came in from going to town and collapsed on the floor. Grandma called for the ambulance and then called for her youngest daughter to come home, per her husband's request. Mom arrived at the house just as Grandpa was being wheeled into the ambulance. Her father glanced upon her face and then the ambulance doors were shut. He died on the way to the hospital.
Following her father's death, Mom stayed on at her mother's house, helping to take care of her and to keep her company. When she was 31, she had finally saved up enough money to purchase her own house. She was just far enough away to be on her own, but close enough to rush home at a moment's notice. It was while the two of them were out shopping for furniture that my mother met my father.
After a few years of marriage, my parents finally had me. The daughter became a mother, with a daughter of her own. A couple of years after that, my sister was born. That daughter was now the mother of two daughters of her own.
My parents opened up their own furniture store. Its location was about four miles south of my grandmother's farm, though in a different state. Again, my mother continued to care for her mother. I have many memories of spending time with Grandma in her kitchen, while my mother went berry picking. Grandma would come down to our house, and Mother and Daughter would sweat over making jams and jellies, applesauce, and canning fresh veggies from the garden.
And then Grandma got really sick. Her Alzheimer's had finally gotten to the point where it was not safe for her to live at home anymore. My mother had to make one of the most difficult decisions a daughter can make. She and her siblings had to put Grandma into a nursing home, so that her needs could be properly met in a safe environment.
My mother was a better daughter than I am. She went to visit her mother as frequently as she could. It was hard for her to accept that her mother was slowly losing her memory. As Grandma forgot the world around her, she also forgot about her daughter. I don't think my mother ever got over that. Mom was sick for months after her mother passed away. I think she felt somewhat responsible for her mother's deterioration.
My duty as a daughter kicked into high gear, advocating for my parents a year ago after Mom ran away. I still remember my father calling me at work to say that he was going to pick up Mom from the hospital. "The hell you are!" I shouted in the phone before calling the hospital. I demanded to speak with the nurses and social workers, begging them to help me get my mother into a home. It simply was no longer possible for my father to care for her. And my sister and I both live several hundred miles away from our parents.
I was the daughter who was physically there to help my mother get situated in her current home, as Dad lay in a coma from his brain bleed. (He sustained this from a fall on the ice that happened while he was gathering paperwork to get Mom situated in a home.) My sister shared in the responsibility from afar via phone. I am the daughter who gets that phone call when there is a medical emergency or a simple change in meds. My sister is the daughter who handles all of the legal issues. I am sure Mom and Dad are proud of their two daughters working together.
As for my own identity as a daughter, it is still there. My parents are not here anymore, but once upon a time I was someone's daughter. I still am, on a spiritual level. I have a couple of adoptive mothers who look upon me as their daughter. Perhaps some day I will also be blessed with my own daughter. And then I can share my legacy with her.