So the brain has settled down some… and I am thinking about the coming days. Anniversaries always make us do that, good or bad. Today is Groundhog Day… and it really feels that way inside me. It repeats as the last day ever that I did not know my daughter would die, before she was a high schooler, a mom, an aunt… jeesh before she lost her first tooth. These days are a blur to me to think back and remember. I have to really focus and think of the order of time back then, three years ago. Sometimes I want to and sometimes I don’t want to delve into those thoughts and memories.
I think about the sitting and the fear in the hospital, the team that Matt and I were… and how I will share none of this with him again. We won’t talk about her, remember her together… we are no longer that. We are just people who parent our girls that are still here, not people who talk about the one who isn’t. I think back to those days and the solid person he was and how he made me feel safe. How only a tiny bit of time later there is nothing in the now that makes me feel safe… it makes me sad. It hurts. Groundhog Day replays and replays in my brain today.
I can remember the feeling of Madeline… holding her and sitting with her. Playing tick tack toe in the hallway at Albany Med and her drawing Arthur and making little notes. I remember during her MRI sliding down the wall telling my sister Molly she needed to come home. I remember all of the friends and family who sat with us there… and then my heart hurts for what some of them have done to our family since. I remember maybe drinking a coffee, but really holding it for hours and not drinking it. I remember walking into the recovery room while Madeline was sleeping and the priest who was visiting weirdly walked in and told us “She is going to save your marriage”… and being mad at him for wasting this moment to say that. Later looking back and thinking it was a sign… and this is what it all looks like now. I remember sleeping next to Madeline on the bed in the Nuero PICU room, very squashed and hearing beeps and noises all night. I remember waking up to a big group of doctors, who had most likely been up for a long time talking about this MRI… knowing that this is not what they wanted to have to tell us. It was the weirdest day of my life… at least for about 5 days… then the day we drove home from the hospital with an empty car seat came. I kept thinking how hard it was to be a mom and leave my daughter to someone else… it was supposed to be my job. I worried that they got her little pearl earrings in and hoped she got to her next destination safely… I left my lovely with someone else. I felt empty and cold and like a robot. I still can feel that when I go back to those moments. I remember coming home and plunking it down in the middle of my living room with Matthew knowing that there was no one else that should be right there next to me for this.
Some of the today and the Groundhogness and repeating is about seeing all that is different today from then… recognizing what I miss and how much I miss her and my family. It is also about reflecting on what has come into this life… good and bad. What else was lost, what else was gained…
How can it be three years have gone by? How though can that life that was then feel like a whole lifetime ago??? Time is different, or maybe I just feel it and see it differently. Who knows, I am sure minutes are still minutes and hours still hours… but they don’t pass and feel the same as they did. I can’t believe that it has been over a 1000 days since my skin has touched her skin, that I got kiss her or hear her heartbeat. 1000 days. I wonder what it will all look like in another 1000 days…
Who is it that said ‘Three words I have learned about life- it goes on’… maybe Frost… but it does. Life goes on and on and on. In a way Madeline’s life still goes on… I share her, I feel her, I think about her… I just don’t get to touch her or parent her the same anymore. I don’t get to see her grow into a tween or adult or get old and wise… but I know she was wise then. She knew what all of this was… I just never knew to ask her. I was told by a medium if I ever asked Madeline she would have told me she would not live to be old. She knew all along her job was short… some might think that is crazy. I know it is true. She was more ready for this than we were… she is good and well and happy. She shows me.
I wish for 1000 more days with her, but will get through the next 1000 without her hand to hold or cheeks to nibble. I will get through… sometimes I will even thrive. For today I will just chug and breathe, remember and think, cry some and laugh… I will live in my Groundhog Day.