Sweet Dannica… I saw you today as I was driving by where you used to work. You were about five years old and you were riding your Little Mermaid bicycle with the knobby white tires, sparkling tassels dangling from the handlebars. Your helmet seemed so big on your sweet little head. Fragile little calves clad in flowered leggings and chunky white running shoes with purple stripes. Beautiful curls cascading out from under your helmet like Ariel’s own melodies kissed by the sun, set free on the breeze like a zillion glittering butterflies fading into the sky as I approach the next traffic light.
My little one, there you are again with two of your best girlfriends. The weather is warm today, the sun brilliant. You are older now, maybe fourteen. Your innocent laughter swirls with the ecstasy of being young, happy, beautiful, and on the way to the mall. Your friend repeatedly pounds the button on the poll to signal your turn to cross. You’ll chat with other friends, you’ll be silly and probably annoy some of the other shoppers with your easy and endless amusement as they roll their eyes and whisper “Mall Maggots,” under their breath. But you’ll have the time of your lives just being who you are and that makes me so happy.
I’m nearly home now and there you are again, love. You’re walking through the park hand in hand with a handsome young man. You are smiling, the sun lighting your hair and you are young love personified. You see forever in each other’s gaze and feel it there between your clasped palms; a microcosm of the rest of your long lives together. And then you’re gone. I blink hard… and remember the butterflies and smile sadly.
I walk toward the front door of our home remembering, trying to remember, trying not to lose anything and as I see the purple ribbon and the butterfly that tell the world of your continuing presence here, I am so grateful that I got to know you and to love you every moment of your entire life…from your first breath until your last and now beyond. In this moment I feel a sense of gratitude. In this moment I have been given the gift of glimpsing a silver lining to the horrific dark cloud of your passing. You are with me, the whole of your life is with me, within me, and always shall be.