I ponder how wrong it is I am driving a car full of children to a funeral home to see their friend one final time. As they sing in unison to a song on my daughter’s iPod, jovial and light, tears stream from the corner of my eyes thinking we are missing one.
Their mood vanishes as we enter the funeral home to see her family and are shrouded in the grief that greets us there. I reach out and hold tightly a mother who whispers her longing to have her child back, for one more day, for the chance to do things differently. I look on as she stands at the open casket. Suddenly she bends over to gently touch a shock of her beautiful daughter’s hair. It is the same connection of touch to a sleeping child we deeply love. The appointed protectors, the soothers, the comforters; such loss is the loss of ourselves, our hearts. To not fully understand the extent of our children’s sadness is beyond our comprehension. Could any knife cut through the density of this mother’s grief?
Willing the nerve to look, we sit for a few minutes as the kids gather themselves. I follow as they move forward in solidarity to see their best of friends, the piece to complete them, lying lifelessly. Our minds make her breathe again so she can rest peacefully but our tears know the truth. The truth that was her life, the grief that lived inside her, the false sense of aloneness and hopelessness she clearly felt. Whatever failures she perceived, could she not have failed at this final thing?
After a final goodbye to their friend we walk outside into the warm afternoon sun. Any prior cheerfulness has been stolen like a life lived too short. In a quiet agreement, an unspoken pact, our tears do not break the silence. Listening to the void I am filled with regret. She was like one of my own. When she called out I didn’t want to hear and it is too late now. We live with our actions and inactions, forever changed.
By the spin of a roulette wheel, all bets off, I have watched the ball bounce along these past twelve months hoping it would not be my own child. It has landed on another number next to mine but there is no winner in these high stakes. I find little solace in my relief. The dealer takes all and we feel cheated. None of us is willing or ready to hand her over.
I am clinging to my daughter throughout these days. Holding on to her and not willing to let her go. I hope that she is holding on to me too. I face my own fears in the anxiety yet another painful loss in her life will take her further from me; in the sorrow of the loss of someone I, too, cared deeply for. In the face of this tragedy I promise my daughter the joy of days to come and pray once again that she not lose the courage to fight.
In memory.. http://youtu.be/FvPXDs8ucrw