I am in the place of counting out the years, the months the days and swallowing guilt. Remembering a time I lived and breathed those days, months, hours. I would never have needed to count.
We have lived so much longer without her than with, yet her short days have shaped my every. single. one.
I am in the place of the grieving moms before me who pulled me through, who promised one day anguish would not muffle every breath. Who told me to put one foot in front of the other and be gentle with myself and I really truly would survive.
But I am also in the place of maybe frustration. That I should be able to fall more gently or I should be a little tougher by now or I should be something. I don’t know what because there is no map or book or plan for losing a child and no story that mirrors your own with a mother on the other side telling you how she is getting out of bed and staying present and remembering silly things like shutting the car door or signing school permission slips.
I am in the place of watching my living children grow and settling into the knowing. The knowing what we really truly are missing. Of watching a daughter who should have a sister the same age wander for someone to play dress up and tea party and share a pink room and argue over Barbie clothes with and knowing she might always be a little bit of a lost soul. She is missing a piece too. She feels it already.
I am in the place of answering to little voices about death and where their sister is right now and how we can talk to her in our hearts and what star she is on and why she can’t come to their brother’s birthday party next weekend.
I am in the place of being as fragile as I am tough, as whole as I am empty, and as lost as I am sure of exactly where my feet are planted.
And I am finally, finally in a place of being able to tell that mother who was once me, who could not imagine the years stretched before her that she, you, I will be okay. That we will survive and we will come out the other side uprooted and bruised and dizzied but so unbelievably strong that we will forever step with purpose and an understanding of life we could never have found without someone leaving our arms and leading us to it.
This is where I am 4 years 7 months and 19 days since my daughter was alive.
Joining still life with circles for right where I am.
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