Today I was driving, just a few minutes without the kids in the car and my mind escapes me. I drove past the cemetery and as I always do I turn my head.. to try to take a peek at my daughter. But today it hit me.. how incredibly wrong that is. That this isn’t the glimpse of Jennifer I should be trying to get. I should drive past her school or her camp to steal a look at her.
I remember doing it those few weeks she was at a real school… driving past or parking early before school gets out. Just trying to see her without me there. How foreign I thought that was, to have her be apart from me for so many hours in a day. To not know if kids were being nice to her.. if she was hungry or sad.. What I wouldn’t give for those simple questions now.
But how scared I am to be asking them again in just a few weeks about my Jonathan starting his school career.
Remember how all the kids looked the same.. how they all of the same exact uniform top and navy blue bottoms.. from a distance boys and girls melded together. But I would find her. Always. Because of a headband perched on top of her head or something fun in her hair. I was so happy she finally decided to wear headbands the right way on the top of her head. For so long she wore them right across the front of her forehead. If I fixed it she moved it right back ..
jennifer. just so jennifer.
The mind is an incredible thing and how it can wander and take you to another place .. another time. It seems to happen to me a lot when I am driving alone. Just those moments of quiet usually with music in the background I can go someplace else, like I did today.
It happened a few weeks ago. But this day was sudden and cruel. There was no joyful remininising of happy times. My mind all of the sudden remembered vividly the last time I saw her. How she looked.. how the room smelled. All these details. So vividly disconcerting. I could see her through my memory.. but I also felt like I could see myself there.. kneeling in front of her white casket. Talking to her.. crying out.. begging for her to just open her eyes.
Her eyes. That’s what gave it away. She looked so much like she did February 12th.. but her eyes. I could see she wasn’t behind them even through closed eyelids. Her eyes.. Always so much sparkle .. even in her sleep I guess. Because the nights I went to her in bed.. the nights I laid with her and watched her sleep.. she had life behind closed eyes.
I remembered how scared I was to touch her. How my hand would go close and pull away again.. I was terrified to touch my 6 year old. But I wanted to crawl in there with her. I wanted the lid to close over both of us and to take me away with her.
The onslaught that day was so vicious I had to pull over. To take a few minutes to try to shake the memories loose.. to be able to finish my drive. I did ok with it. It was almost like as suddenly as the hammering of those moments started they also left. A quiet headache filled silence.
And then I got my hair cut. Its how it happens in this new life. The easy moments are never quite that, often something else is lurking.. But you learn to tuck it away.. to cut it off and seem normal, whole, healthy. When what I just relived is anything but normal, whole or healthy. It is horrible and nightmarish.. It is wrong and it is torturous . But I survived it when it happened.. I survived it when it came back to me driving along Monterey. .. and I will do it again. Every single day for the rest of my life
i am strong sissy
i learned how to be from you.
…until there is a cure..