I try to be honest. Especially in this new life we have been handed.. But I am finding I have to lie sometimes. To the outside world and my kids. With a smile that covers up the falling apart happening inside at that exact moment..
The surprising hard moments are often times the worst ones. The ones I am not ready for or expecting..
When the school year started. I used to walk Jonathan in every day. We would wait during assembly and watch him walk to the classroom. .. But the weather got colder and he wanted to be dropped off so we transitioned to that.
Yesterday Nicholas asked if we could go in again. And Jonathan liked the idea so we did.
I hope they don’t ask again.
Two lines behind him I saw these kids.. The ones that are all strangers to me… but I know their faces. The ones that were classmates of my Jennifer. They have all changed and grown up so much. I found myself desperately staring at them and I felt that familiar sting return to my eyes.
I was grateful for sunglasses in that moment. Because I felt so tiny and fragile.. vulnerable.
These kids.. that I know nothing about now.. That are only vaguely familiar strangers.. Exactly the same as my own daughter is now.
2 years. 2 years since I touched her.. heard her voice.. got to tell her I loved her. Jennifer is now foreign to me. Somebody who I know her face.. but so changed.. And I have no idea how.
My should be 8 year old. My should be 2nd grader.
I have no idea what these 8 year old girls were talking about.. or what they like.. I don’t know what their days look like.. These vaguely familiar children.. That I should know.
My Jennifer. I have no idea. None. What its like for her where she is. She has become foreign to me, for some reason that thought has been haunting me the last two days more than it has before.
Yesterday playing with the kids in the dance room. .. I stared at her picture over their shoulders and I just stared. At all of her little features.. the tiny mole she had on her cheek.. The things I took for granted getting to see every day.. I just stared at her.. Trying to pull her out.. or me in.. Just back to a moment with her again.
Then today. I watched these children march past me and wanted to scream. I wanted to beg them to remember her. To breathe her into life still. She mattered. Damnit my baby mattered.
But only one or two of them know who I am anymore. In the classroom every week for such a short time in their school careers.. But I know them.. vaguely. .. distantly.
..just like you. you are so like them for me now jennifer. i hate that. so much.
I can’t decide if I am excited for them to graduate and not have to see them.. Or if I will find comfort in being able to be a silent observer in 6 years.
Something struck for Nicholas too.. Again he said he wants to go to their school. But not kinder. He won’t be a “koala like Sissy or a kangaroo like Jonathan” I will just go to another one.
We got in the car and he asked questions again. About her body. About what she looks like now. And why we don’t have our bodies. Today I had better answers I think. That maybe we do have legs and arms.. Just not these ones. Better ones. And we imagined how Jennifer’s heaven legs might look.
And he told me how scared he is to die. I’m not. Not even a little. Holding her as she moved to heaven was the most warmth and fullness I have ever felt in my life. I just told him that. That the room was full of loving souls that I couldn’t see.. but I could feel.
I told him it was only me. And he whispered that he wished he had been there .. why didn’t he get to be there. ..
The truth is.. because there is no guidebook. No way to know what the right thing to do is.. For the child dying and for the ones that will be left behind.
And he asked if she was in pain.
so I lied. That I was confident she wasn’t. But I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
She cried that last day. I will never know if it was pain or fear. .. I know what I thought then.. but I will never know ..
This. This one question will haunt me the rest of my days.
“I kept them alive” .. So often you see that posted by parents jokingly that their kids may be messy.. or had a bad dinner.. but they kept them alive. I used to do that.. but for a parent with a dying child.. our only job is to keep them out of pain.
.. and I don’t know if I did that. If I failed on all levels of my job. To keep her alive and in the end out of pain.
i hope so
i wanted to
i am so sorry
oh my jennifer
i am so sorry.
..until there is a cure..