I thought of you today (again) when Alice got off the bus. She was so excited to show me her “human body” that she couldn’t contain herself. “Let’s go home, Mom!” she begged me instead of wanting to play with her neighbor bus-mate like she usually wants to do each day. In the end, I’m usually the one dragging her away when it’s time to say good bye.
“I want to show you my body!!” she told me again and again at the bus stop interrupting my brief conversation with my fellow bus stop mom. Alice has been learning about the human body at school, complete with having her own body traced on paper and glueing a paper brain, stomach, lungs, ribcage, etc onto the traced body. She’s been telling me about each part they talk about and has been so excited to bring her paper body home.
I said good bye to my neighbor and told Alice we could leave. She ran ahead of me, and I do mean “ran,” very uncharacteristic of her. What a picture she made – her loose hair flying in the wind, unzipped sweatshirt tails flapping, her backpack that is too big for her 33lb real body bouncing wildly from side to side, and of course the icing on the cake were the white tights tucked inside the green rain boots that Daniel and I thought were too cute not to buy even though they weren’t 100% practical. (Alicia, you would like them. I think they might have been something you would have bought for her.) My heart filled with so much love, so much pride, so much hope for her future that I thought I was going to cry right in the middle of the street. I wanted to remember that moment for the rest of my life – so innocent and carefree. When we got to the house, I even asked Alice if I could go inside and get the camera to take a picture of her running, but she didn’t want to – had to show me that paper body pronto.
But in the instant that I thought I was about to explode with love for my daughter, I also had the realization, no… the intense terror, that she could be taken from me. How could I—if I ever had to—go on without this living, breathing part of me that I call my daughter, flesh of my flesh? And in the next instant, I pictured your own mom savoring similar moments from your life. There are quite a few pivotal as well as “mundane” moments I was privileged to share during 12 years of knowing you; however what about the memories Grace has of you running around in your “green rain boots,” the day-to-day moments of pure, innocent sweetness from your childhood that conjure up an enormity of feelings?
As April 28th draws closer, I had written 2 pieces recently about you and how this past year has changed so many lives forever, but I haven’t been at peace with them, haven’t wanted to publish them – not now anyway. My words on paper felt like useless drivel, unable to portray the weight of this past year, and many times sounding selfish. As I have been saying since last April to persons who feel like they need to say something to help me get through this, there really are no words. No words to adequately portray a mother’s anguish, a father’s grief, a husband’s sorrow, a sister’s heartache, a brother’s pain.
What I have felt at peace about sharing with you is the song that I have been singing—needed to sing—for the past few weeks. You’ll know it, I’m sure. And while not every line fits, I feel like it says more than I could ever say at this point in time. My prayer has been that the family you left behind could all find some comfort In The Arms Of an Angel, whoever that may be for each of us, as I hope you have too.
Missing and missing you so,