It doesn’t seem to much matter what I watch on TV, what I read, which movie I choose or even which song comes on the radio. I can close my eyes and push the buttons on the remote control, keep them closed and pull a book from the shelf, open to any page, any passage and it is about my loss… all of it. Was my life so thoroughly saturated with grief before and I just didn’t notice it or has the universe really reorganized itself with me and my gravity at the center of it?
The day before Dannica’s accident, my son and I were talking in the garage when I saw someone walk by outside the window. The person had white hair or was all in white and walked toward the back yard with determined purpose. I opened the door to see who it was and there was no one. No one there. I wonder if God touched her precious head sending out ripples into the universe as she slept. I wonder if it was an angel returning on the ripples that passed by my window Dannica’s last night in our arms. Perhaps it was an angel joining other angels as they gathered in an attempt to fill every empty space about to be created.
Yesterday, I opened and poured down the sink a container of eggnog that my son had bought for Dannica. She’d not opened it yet and he had written her name on it in several places with permanent marker. The joy on her face and in her voice when she asked, “Who bought me eggnog?” made my heart smile. It was such a sweet thing for her brother to do. The carton sat in the fridge through all the holidays. A space not yet hollowed out. Some poor angel had to sit in the fridge next to that carton waiting for the vacancy.
I carried the carton, now filled with angel, and placed it on Dannica’s bed along with other things that have collected there, filling the empty space where she rested her curly head, snuggled in her fuzzy, soft blankets and dreamed her beautiful dreams. Even when she was 18, I’d sometimes open the door to peek in on her sleeping and have the odd thought, “Is she breathing?” I’d watch the blankets softly rise and fall, shake my head and roll my eyes a little, “…of *course* she is. What are you thinking?” Sometimes I would walk in and quietly sit on the bed next to her, just to touch her hair, her soft cheek. She never minded that I’d awakened her. She would smile and let me hold her hand, caress her beautiful fingers…whenever I wanted to.
When I go out, I see her everywhere. I never noticed before how many teenaged daughters go grocery shopping with their mothers. It is beautiful to me and makes me smile then cry every time. I notice the mothers are about my age, softening a little, fading a little and I notice the daughters and how much like their mothers they look but young, full of life and promise…vibrant versions of what they’ll be when walking through the grocery store with their own daughters some day. I want to stop and look into the eyes of these women, these mothers and daughters, and I want to tell them to treasure these moments they have. I don’t stop them though because the emptiness in my own eyes is hard for me to look at in the mirror. I can only imagine what it would do to strangers.