I find I often feel like I’m waiting, as patiently as possible, for…something. I’m waiting for morning. I’m waiting for evening again. For the pain to stop. For my daughter to come home, or call, or text to tell me all is well. For the point at which I’ve done everything I’m supposed to have done. For someone to bring her home and say it was all a terrible, terrible mistake. For the happiness that would come with such a revelation and reunion.
Dannica brought so much joy to my life, to my family. I had fallen in love with the young woman she had become. I loved it every time she passed by a room I was in and smiled at me. I loved it every time she snuggled up close to me just to be close. I loved it when she wanted to do my hair or my makeup or choose what outfit I should wear someplace special or at home for a special time. I loved her laugh and I loved listening to her laugh with her brother. I would listen when they didn’t know I was listening so they’d continue being silly and spontaneous and I’d have to try to muffle my own laughter as my heart threatened to burst with the perfect harmony of their connection. Her roots in family were strong but she was ready to fly.
She had told me she wanted to move out and that her plan was to do that before last Christmas. She was about to begin college and she wanted roommates and her own place and more independence. My heart ached at the thought of not having her here. I had thought she’d stay at home while she went to school and move out later since she was going to a local college but her wings were growing stronger day by day. I was about to be an empty nester. I had survived, Danni and I both had, her brother moving out to attend school in another city. It was hard for us. We grew closer and spent more time together as a result.
A full minute does not go by without thoughts of Dannica floating through me. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing. It doesn’t matter if I’m trying to do something else, the mental and emotional pendulum slowly swings, unendingly powered by the motion of the earth even when I’m very, very still. Acceptance (almost), anger, incredulity, abject denial, guilt, supreme sadness, the deepest, darkest ache……….and back again, and again, and again, and again in a constant, fruitless, never-ending pursuit of happiness.
I was in no hurry for my children to grow up though now they have, the beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, amazing people they have become fills my heart and soul.
My heart breaks as I watch my son moving through his own grief and into mourning. He is doing it beautifully and with such love for his sister. His art, his music, his gifts for expression, his appreciation of quiet time and space in which to honor and nurture and heal. I still have him to hold and to talk to and to laugh with and for that I am so grateful. I remind myself that there was a time before Dannica was born that we were so happy. I do this not in an attempt to erase her from our lives but to acknowledge that it’s possible. We were happy before. We can be again. Dannica streaked through our lives as a bright and shooting star leaving us changed forever by her presence and forever by her passing.