The Pursuit of Happiness

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.

The Lights In My Life...

The Lights In My Life…

5 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Happiness

  1. I see my son grieve for his brother and ask questions that I simply cannot answer. He is so young. It is heartbreaking, I agree. We just need to keep ourselves healthy in all meanings of the word, so we can be there for these surviving siblings. I am still trying to find balance.

  2. That feeling of waiting …I live with that feeling all the time. It’s accompanied by a restlessness that nothing seems to settle. I engage in various activities to distract myself, but like you, all thoughts return to my son, who I miss with every fiber of my being. There is such a profound ache of yearning that it is overwhelming. You have described it so accurately.

    Your children are just beautiful together. They look so close to each other, no wonder you loved to listen to them together.

    I, too, must watch my daughter grieve for her brother and the future that she will never get to share with him. It is heartbreaking.

  3. Mel – my heart aches for you. I can’t begin to imagine surviving the loss of a child, much less a daughter. You have a way with words that is beautiful, touching and a special gift. Blogging about your feelings will help others to deal with loss. As always, you are a giving and wonderful person. Take care of yourself, my friend.

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